Thursday, December 2, 2010

I haven't been quoted in the paper since I was 5!

Today's T&G featured an article about a horrible accident on Hamilton Street early Sunday morning.  I didn't witness the accident, but I was quoted at the end of the article.

- I don't have an agenda writing about this.  It happened where I work, and I hope that some good will come from this story regarding traffic on Hamilton Street.   It could have happened to any of my co-workers, and that's what makes me worry about the delay between the accident, the investigation,  the article, and the Worcester Police Department's statement. 

- Here's the timeline:
- Sunday, November 28th, 2:36 AM: accident occurs.
- Tuesday, November 30th, 9:00 AM: WPD sends Accident Reconstruction Team to investigate.
- Wednesday, December 1st, 3:00 PM: Shaun Sutner of the T&G begins interviewing people in the neighborhood regarding the accident.  
- Wednesday, December 1st,  evening: Shaun Sutner's first article appears on the T&G website, which is later edited for Thursday's print and online version.
- Thursday, December 2nd, 8:50 AM: The WPD releases a statement regarding the accident.
- Last night's online version of the article gave Officer Duffy's home address, which was deleted from the current online version and the printed version.  An early commenter pointed out that printing Officer Duffy's address wasn't a good idea considering he was a member of the Gang Unit.

- WPD's Accident Reconstruction Team definitely began reconstructing the accident Tuesday morning, not Monday morning (my co-workers and I weren't exactly sure which morning the investigation began at the time of Shaun Sutner's interview).  They were also out in full force today (Thursday 12/02/10), measuring the distances so the investigator can reconstruct the timing and speed of the accident.

- There were no skidmarks anywhere on Hamilton Street or Puritan Avenue.  It was late, it was dark, and from the description, it was probably the worst accident in recent memory at an already dangerous intersection.  I work at the corner of Hamilton and Puritan, and we witness accidents all the time.  There's usually 5 or 6 a year where one of the drivers needs medical attention, but thankfully, no fatalities yet.  We've never had to see anyone exticated from a vehicle by the Fire Department.

- There isn't a stop sign on the corner of Puritan and Hamilton. There isn't one anymore because it was knocked down in an accident a few years back and never replaced. While Massachusetts state law mandates that you stop at an T-intersection, most people ignore the law completely because there isn't a stop sign.

- There's the usual pro-cop/cop bashing 'dialogue' in the comment section regarding the T&G's apparent anti-police agenda.  Many readers question whether this story needed to be written, and others claim taht there's a cover-up.  Most of them don't have any of the facts, as usual, they are shooting from the hip.

- Any delay fuels speculation and calls of a cover-up, whether or not there actually is one.  Shaun Sutner was absolutely within his rights as a reporter to write the article and ask these questions.  Without an article, would there be a WPD press release?  If there is a cover-up, then why would the WPD investigate this accident on Tuesday 11/30 and Thursday 12/2?  I've never witnessed the WPD investigating and reconstructing an accident at that corner, and I have seen many since 2002.

- I went through the WPD's Press Release Page to see if there was any precedent for reporting a non-fatal accident.  The WPD doesn't list every accident that occurs in this city, but they seem to list any fatal accident, and pedestrian injured by a motor vehicle, accidents involving the WPD, or anything else that is newsworthy.  Here's a list of the traffic accidents on the page:

- 12/02/10: Serious accident involving an off duty WPD officer, major injuries to the other driver, no arrest or citation of either driver and investigation ongoing.
 - 07/02/10: Fatal hit and run accident, driver later turned himself in and was arrested.
- 06/18/10: School bus, SUV and WRTA bus in an accident, minor injuries, driver of bus cited.
- 04/27/10: Fatal hit and run accident, vehicle found, no driver.
- 03/25/10: Pedestrian critically injured by vehicle, no arrest of driver and investigation ongoing.
- 03/08/10: Motorcycle and car accident, fatality possibly due to motorcycle operator error, no citations, investigation ongoing.
- 11/27/10: Two pedestrians hit while in crosswalk and transported to hospital, driver cited.
- 11/17/10: WPD cruiser in accident while responding to a call, minor injuries, no citation.
- 11/16/09: Three car accident after pursuit of a stolen vehicle, minor injuries, driver arrested.
- 11/09/09: Motorcycle and car accident, motorcycle driver hospitalized with extensive injuries, citations pending for motor vehicle driver.
- 11/06/09: Pedestrian hit while in crosswalk by taxi, driver left scene due to fear of crowd, driver cited.

-If anything come from this story, I hope it is this:  there needs to be a light at the intersection of Hamilton Street and either Fairmont Avenue or Ingleside Avenue.  Once eastbound drivers cross Plantation Street, the next stop sign is at Coburn Ave, and the next light at Lake Avenue.  That's a long way to go on a two lane street where people speed all the time.

This was a tragic accident- my thoughts and prayers are with both families, and I wish the young woman a speedy recovery.


Sprout said...

Having been in an accident at just this corner (and thanks for checking me for concussion sir!), I can attest to what a horrible spot this is.

Double that if it's raining and you're trying to see around a box truck parked too close to the intersection!

Will W. W. said...

Know the corner dude.
All for it!
Write Councilor Kate an email.
Let us know what happens. Ahem.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a light would work at either street mentioned. Too close to the light at Plantation St. with potential for backups down to the square. Also, a light on a hill is probably not a great idea. Common sense regarding speed would likely go a long way. That, limiting parking at intersections, and perhaps signage indicating ''Caution - Cars Entering from Right'' might help. Get ready for speed traps at the round church!

Sean Dacey said...

The speed traps at the church are too little, too late. The only other possibility would be a blinking light at Puritan.

The parked cars are a problem on the hill, not as much down the hill. (Unless there's a big Sysco truck on the corner.)