NEWS Accident prompts West Street neighbors to call for traffic lights

Accident prompts West Street neighbors to call for traffic lights

SOUTH SINGTON — West Street business owner Paul Rossi had a stack of clean towels in his kitchen after caring for a crash victim on the busy road.

“You look for something to stop the bleeding,” Rossi said.

He owns Hidden Valley Miniature Golf and Waterfront Grille across Westwood Road in a residential neighborhood off West Street. Rossi shared surveillance footage with the Record-Journal showing six crashes in front of Hidden Valley, including one involving a school bus carrying children.

In a crash about a month ago, he and others pulled a child from a car that had been hit on West Street. Despite using a six-foot metal crowbar, Rossi said he was unable to get the driver out. He brought a fire extinguisher in case there was a fire and said luckily there was none.

“It hurts to stand there and watch it all,” he said.

A bus accident involving a car. Rossi said there were only a few children in the car and no one was injured. In the video, the car with its airbag deployed can be seen being pushed into the Hidden Valley car park by the school bus.

Rossi and local residents want a light installed to prevent more accidents.

“A year ago, it was clear we needed to do something,” Rossi said. “It’s getting worse.”

police study crash

About a year ago, Rossi started contacting the state Department of Transportation because West Street was a state highway. Last month, he received an email response instructing him to resolve the matter with local police.

“They told me the town had to be lit,” Rossi said.

Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri said the department will investigate the incident on that stretch of West Street to determine if they will recommend the traffic light to the state Department of Transportation.

There have been 21 accidents there since 2019. Seven people were injured and no one was killed. Seven incidents were recorded in 2019, dropping to two in 2020. Palmieri said there were six accidents last year and six so far this year.

To determine whether the crashes indicated a problem with traffic flow, Palmieri said police would compare the section to other busy intersections in the town, such as the one on Queen Street.

“We’re going to look at a lot of things. We’re going to look at the number of crashes, we’re going to look at the causes,” he said. “We’ll be looking at the speed, entering or exiting the lane, is it daylight, what are the conditions?”

Palmieri said that even with the advice of local police, it would still take the Department of Transport to study and approve the traffic lights.

A recent addition of Cumberland Farms south of Hidden Valley on West Street caused traffic lights. Palmieri said it was related to the construction of the store, not the result of a police study like the one he was conducting.

Sheree Shields lives on Balmoral Drive, a residential street away from Westwood Road. The only way out of the neighborhood is via West Street. Turning in either direction on the busy state road felt dangerous, Shields said.

“I often turn left across two lanes. It’s very, very dangerous,” she said. “You risked your life by leaving your house.”

She’s been working with Rosie, asking for traffic lights.

“Our goal is to have a collective voice and a voice on the seriousness of all the incidents that are happening in the town,” Shields said. “Hopefully people in the town are really starting to pay attention.”

Rossi wanted to get something done before his fatal accident. He understands how easy it is to speed on West Street, and says the only way to change that is to turn on the lights.

“You go around the corner and it feels like you’re on the highway,” he said. “I always remind myself, ‘Gosh, slow down.'”

At press time, Department of Transportation officials had not responded to information about what they might be doing in Southington. Rossi said he wished they would visit West Street.

“I need someone from DOT to come here, stand at the intersection, look at the video, see what I saw,” he said. 203-317-2230 Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

Related posts

NEWS Livingston Academy player dies in accident – Xinhua


NEWS Delaware police release statement on details of Jay Briscoe crash


NEWS Fair Oaks bike accident involves phone company work truck