In Somerville, Second Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Crosswalk Crash Claims Life

pedestrians in crosswalk
Pedestrians in crosswalk

Somerville has seen at least two fatal pedestrian crosswalk crashes during 2019. The news media has reported both were hit-and-run crashes.

A driver was tragically killed in a Somerville crosswalk over the weekend. The victim was struck on Saturday night around 8 p.m. as she crossed along Mystic Avenue (Route 38), near McGrath Highway and Stop & Shop.

The victim, a Somerville resident, was transported from the scene and later pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Meanwhile, Massachusetts State Police began investigating and searching for the driver, who had fled the scene. The 64-year-old Roxbury man turned himself in Sunday morning and was charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury or death and a crosswalk violation, according to WBZ Boston. He pleaded not guilty at arraignment today in Somerville District Court, where prosecutors revealed a few details about the crash. The driver admitted to drinking two glasses of wine at dinner before the crash and said he initially stopped because he suspected he had hit someone. He was allowed to remain free on $1,000 bail on the condition he refrain from alcohol. He is not allowed to drive.

According to StreetsBlog Mass, the crosswalk is located along Mystic Avenue. It provides pedestrians with access to the Kensington Underpass, which runs under I-93 and connects most of Somerville’s residential neighborhoods to businesses and offices in the Assembly Square district.

This is at least the second fatal pedestrian crosswalk accident in Somerville this year. Both were hit-and-run crashes. In February, a beloved 40-year-old educator was walking in a crosswalk at the Harden Road and Powderhouse Boulevard intersection. She was hit by a truck which never stopped and died from her injuries. Somerville Police had to launch a regional search. Days later, police found the 55-year-old Norwood driver, with help from a Tufts University police officer who spotted the truck parked on University Avenue in Medford. Still damaged, the truck was parked just a mile from the site of the pedestrian hit-and-run.

Tips for Driving Safely Near Pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents are often serious and life-threatening. You have probably heard this before, but drivers really can prevent most pedestrian injuries by slowing down and focusing on the road. Most people drive faster than they realize.  According to AAA, when you adjust your speed from 25 mph to 35 mph, you double your risk for causing a fatal pedestrian accident.

Our safety tips for drivers:

  • Travel the speed limit or lower when appropriate in neighborhoods and areas near stores and restaurants.
  • Travel slowly through parking lots; never cut across parking lots or check cell phones.
  • Always stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • Take caution when driving at night.
  • Older drivers should have regular vision exams and monitor their driving.
  • Watch fatigue.
  • Use GPS before you start driving.
  • Do not use your cell phone for any reason. Even hands-free technology can be a distraction, especially during the summer months and for night driving.
  • Never operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Put down drinks and food.
  • Talk to your family. If anyone is ever in an unimaginable situation and has hit a pedestrian or bicyclist, tell them to stop, call police and wait at the scene.
  • Leaving the scene is against the law in Massachusetts. If the driver leaves the scene, the victim may not get the medical care they need to survive. Minutes and seconds matter.

Beyond preventing injury, it’s in your best interest to slow down if you don’t want a ticket. More than 40 Massachusetts communities have now established slower, 25 mph default speed limits. Massachusetts sets a 30 mph default speed limit for communities. But under state Municipal Modernization Law passed in 2016, individual cities and towns can opt into a 25 mph speed limit instead in thickly settled areas and business districts. They can also create 20 mph work safety zones. Communities cannot alter speed limits on state roads.

Next time you enter one of these communities, watch for the speed limit signs as you enter. Boston,  Cambridge and Somerville are among the communities which have adopted the lower 25 mph speed limit. The City of Somerville implemented a 25 mph speed limit citywide as soon as the state law took effect back in 2016. It also pursued 20 mph limits in work safety zones.

Breakstone, White & Gluck – Free Legal Consultation

Breakstone, White & Gluck is known for our extensive experience handling personal injury cases and our superb results for those injured and their families throughout Massachusetts. We invite you to learn about our results after pedestrian crashes.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys specialize in representing those injured in pedestrian accidents involving crosswalks and other pedestrian car accidents. If you have been injured, it is critical to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation and learn about the process ahead. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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After Fatal Pedestrian Crash, City of Somerville Looks at Traffic Calming Measures

People walking in a crosswalk
People walking in a crosswalk

Somerville residents are asking for new traffic calming measures after a fatal pedestrian crash last weekend on Powder House Boulevard and Hardan Road. Police are searching for the driver, who fled the scene.

The Somerville community is wrestling with the horrific crash that killed a teacher in a crosswalk last Friday night.

Somerville Police are still searching for the driver in the Somerville pedestrian crash. The driver struck Allison Donovan, an educator in the Watertown public school system, shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, then fled the scene. Another woman in the crosswalk suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

As police investigate, city officials say a community meeting will be held to discuss accelerating traffic calming measures for the area. The pedestrian accident happened on Powder House Boulevard, at the intersection of Hardan Road, near the West Somerville Neighborhood School. In response to the crash, the city began setting up flex posts with neon reflectors Monday.

For the short term, Somerville Police will be there to assist students who are dropped off and picked up at the West Somerville Neighborhood School. Message boards are also being deployed in the area along with the flexposts.

But residents are now calling for more, including speed bumps to force drivers to slow down.

Traffic Measures to Change Driver Behavior

Communities can implement traffic calming measures to change driver behavior and improve safety conditions for non-motorized street users. Speed bumps and raised intersections are two examples of traffic calming measures. Other examples may include protected bike lanes and cycletracks which allow cyclists to travel inside curbing and away from cars, trucks and rideshare vehicles.

Different areas may require different traffic calming measures. Some communities may address a single intersection or street. But often, communities are working on larger areas.

Slower speed limits are another traffic calming measure. Boston, Cambridge and Somerville were among the first communities to reduce speeds to 25 mph a few years ago, when the state gave communities this authority.

In Somerville, city officials have already implemented many traffic calming measures, including on Powder House Boulevard, which has received physical and painted sidewalk bumpouts, improved crosswalk markings and flashing stop and crosswalk signs and vertical reflective crosswalk markers. In the City of Somerville’s online update, it also noted there is a flashing pedestrian activated crosswalk sign at the intersection near Hardan St. This is where the pedestrian crash happened.

But this spring, Somerville city officials had planned additional traffic calming measures on Powder House Boulevard, between Curtis Avenue and North Street (the fatal pedestrian accident happened in this area). Speed bumps and traffic tables were already on the schedule to be considered after the completion of bike lanes and sidewalk bumpouts. Now, city officials say they are seeking options to bring in speed bumps and traffic tables sooner.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Free Legal Consultation
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing those injured by pedestrian accidents and other car accidents. Over the past three decades, our attorneys have helped pedestrians and their loved ones understand their legal rights and obtain the full compensation they need for their injuries. When a loved one is lost, a surviving spouse or the decedent’s children may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against those who were negligent. Our attorneys are experienced in representing families in wrongful death claims in Massachusetts.

For a free legal consultation, call Breakstone, White & Gluck: 800-379-1244, 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.