PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Judge Richard Licht remained hospitalized in serious condition as of Thursday morning after being hit by a vehicle outside the State House last night, according to Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell.
Providence Police Col. Oscar Perez told 12 News that Licht had just left the Rhode Island State House and was crossing Smith Street when he was hit. It doesn’t appear Licht was in a crosswalk when he was struck.
“Judge Licht was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he remains in serious condition,” Suttell said in a statement Thursday. “We ask that you respect Judge Licht and his family’s privacy at this time and keep his recovery in your thoughts and prayers.”
Suttell extended “a wholehearted ‘thank you'” to the first responders who “responded swiftly and with care.”
R.I. House Speaker Joe Shekarchi updated lawmakers Thursday, stating Licht underwent surgery and his prognosis “looks very good.”
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“I just ask everybody to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” Shekarchi said.
Licht turns 75 next month. He was appointed to the Rhode Island Superior Court in 2014 by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee after serving as his Department of Administration director.
A spokesperson for Gov. Dan McKee said the governor spoke with Licht’s wife to express his concern.
“Susan and I are keeping Judge Licht and his entire family in our thoughts and prayers,” McKee said in a statement. “We join Rhode Islanders in wishing him a full recovery and we thank all the first responders and medical professionals responsible for his care.”
Licht’s family released a statement thanking everyone for their support.
“Our family is deeply appreciative of the outpouring of concern regarding Richard’s injuries and the support and prayers for his healing and recovery,” the statement reads. “His injuries were serious, but he is a fighter.”
“Those who know Richard know him to be strong in every dimension, and his strength, determination and resilience will get him through this challenging time and on the road to recovery,” the statement continues. “As his family, we feel blessed by the expressions of love and support from friends, colleagues and the many in Rhode Island and beyond who have reached out to us.”
It’s unclear whether the driver will face any charges. The incident remains under investigation at this time.
This is the second time this week a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle in Providence. The first happened Monday night, when a person was hit and killed on North Main Street.
The judge’s injury has also focused new attention on the safety of Smith Street for pedestrians. The street is state-owned, though Providence Mayor Brett Smiley’s office said he is examining traffic-calming measures across the city.
Charles St. Martin, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Transportation, declined to comment amid the ongoing police investigation.
“We will await the results of the investigation and based on its findings we will make a determination on any other actions that may be needed,” St. Martin said in a statement.
State Rep. Teresa Tanzi said she saw the aftermath of the accident Wednesday night, and it wasn’t the first time she has seen such a situation.
“I think it’s important that we implement engineering and simple paint changes on all of our roads so that we can make them safer for all users,” Tanzi told 12 News.