GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Police are investigating two serious motor vehicle crashes on Wednesday afternoon that left two dead.
According to police, the first accident occurred at 12:50 p.m. Janet E. Chase, 62, of Sheffield died on the scene when her BMW sedan veered into the northbound lane of Route 7, just north of the Sheffield/Great Barrington line, and crashed head-on with a Honda minivan in the northbound lane. The van was driven by Maureen L Boisvert, 50, of Needham. Boisvert was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with severe injuries.
While state and local police were investigating that accident, a vehicle backing out of Timberlyn Heights nursing home on Maple Avenue (Route 23) was struck by a westbound vehicle. Phillip Hoffman, 90, of Sandisfield died at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield overnight as a result of the crash. His wife, Ann, 88, is at Berkshire Medical Center with "life-threatening injuries" as of Thursday.
The other driver, Brian K. Deland, Jr., 34, of Ashley Falls, was treated and released from Fairview Hospital.
That accident occurred at 3:10 p.m. and is being investigated by state and local police.
Also last night a Jeep Cherokee collided with a tractor-trailer near the New York state border on Route 20 in Hancock.The driver of the Jeep was taken to Berkshire Medical Center while the driver of the truck was unhurt. Route 20 was shut down for more than an hour.
LENOX, Mass. — Four motor vehicle accidents involving at least 10 cars stopped traffic on routes 7 and 20 in both the north and southbound lanes early this morning.
According to a press release issued by Police Chief Stephen O’Brien, officers from the Lenox Police Department were responding to a two-car, head-on crash that occurred around 7 a.m. when other vehicles were forced off the road because of extremely icy conditions. In addition to Lenox Police, Lenox Fire Department and state police as well as County Ambulance were called to the scene to assist.
One eyewitness, Brian Sisco of Sheffield, said he was driving through Lenox at 8 a.m. on his way to work when he met up with black ice and bumper-to-bumper traffic in the north and southbound lanes.
"I was coming up through Lee on Route 20 and Lee was fine," he said. "But once Route 7 came up on the bypass that's when things got ugly. There was a road block both ways at Walker Street and they were sending people right or left. The road was definitely slick with black ice. At one point at a stop light my tires were spinning. The roads weren't sanded or salted or anything."
The first accident included what appeared to be a small light-colored pickup or sport utility vehicle with heavy front-end damage. The second vehicle was over the banking of the northbound lane. Emergency vehicles were parked along the side of the road for nearly 100 yards.
A light snow was falling over Pittsfield and South County in the early morning hours. Roadways were slushy through much of the region.
According to Sisco, traffic was backed up for at least a mile and half as police and rescue workers tried to handle one crash after another, saying there were at least three flatbeds and two tow trucks trying to clear away disabled vehicles.
"I drove through Great Barrington at about 6:30 this morning and the roads were fine; sanded and salted. The same through Stockbridge and Lee," he said. "It did not look slippery at all. There was snow covering the roads but it just looked wet. You would think that because there are so many people who drive up Route 7 to get to work that that road would be salted as well. Pittsfield was fine, too. They had already sanded."
The road was finally opened again at 8 a.m. when it was deemed passable by police. At least eight people were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. Although none were reported to have life-threatening injuries, investigators are still compiling operator and vehicle information. Police said one accident involved eight vehicles.
A State Road home has foundation damage after a North Adams man crashed into it Friday night.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Chase Avenue man faces multiple charges after crashing an SUV into a State Road residence Friday, causing damage to the home's foundation.
Chad Slick, 29, is charged with use of a motor vehicle without authority, leaving the scene of an accident, driving with a suspended license and negligent use of a motor vehicle.
According to Police Director Michael Cozzaglio, Slick was upset when he left a New Street apartment and lost control of the vehicle at about 11:15 p.m. The 1995 GMC Jimmy went through a line of bushes and struck the corner of the home owned by Paula and Denis Cote at 404 State Road. Slick left the scene but was arrested in the back yard of the New Street apartment. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor and the only injuries were minor lacerations on Slick's face, Cozzaglio said. The owner of the vehicle was not identified but was connected to Slick, he said.
"We don't believe he was trying to steal the vehicle. He just wanted to leave," Cozzaglio said.
Paula Cote said she and he husband were asleep upstairs when she heard a loud bang, so loud it woke up neighbors on Taft Street, and the house shook.
"I'm still a little shaky," Cote said. "It moved the house. The walls are cracked on the inside."
The house was nearly condemned because of foundation damage but there is just enough support to be livable until it is fixed, she said. The building inspector said the couple will have to move out of the house while the repairs are completed, she said. There are tire tracks in the back yard cutting right though bushes, which have been destroyed and are now discolored.
"It's a hassle. I'm so used to my house, I don't know where to go," she said.
It had been reported that Slick has been in trouble before for charges including disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and destruction of property.
ADAMS, Mass. — A two-vehicle accident on Columbia Street stalled traffic and caused minor injuries Wednesday afternoon.
Bill Spinney of Berkshire County Stoves said the crash "sounded like it was in my parking lot." The crash occurred just south of his store in front of Chick's Lunch and Gem Electric. He called 911 and, after noting the passengers and drivers had all exited the vehicles on their own, snapped a picture that showed one of the sport-utility vehicles flipped on its roof.
Police, fire and ambulance responded to the scene and police report one person, who had been in the flipped vehicle, was transported to the hospital.
Update: The flipped vehicle was being driven by Evan Sadlowski, 25, of East Road. He was cityed for speeding, driving to endanger and a seat-belt violation.
Police say Sadlowski was speeding southbound on Columbia Street when he lost control, struck the parked sport utility vehicle, flipped and slid into the parked red pickup truck. His 2005 Subaru was totaled and the SUV received heavy damage to its driver's side. The truck had $1,000 in damages. Sadlowski was the only injured and he was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with minor injuries.
WASHINGTON, Mass. — A young man was killed early Saturday morning, June 26, in a single-car crash on Blotz Road.
State police say Chad Beeler, 26, was operating a 1989 Ford Mustang eastbound on Blotz Road when the car went off the road and rolled over, partially ejecting Beeler.
The crash was reported at 5:38 a.m. and troopers assigned to the Cheshire barracks responded to the scene. Beeler was fatally injured and pronounced dead at the scene. No further information was immediately available.
The preliminary investigation was done by Trooper Hanna Harbour and the circumstances of the crash remain under investigation by Troop B, with the assistance of the Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Services Section.