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Pedestrian Pinned Under Pickup Truck at Third Thursday

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
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A section of the street was temporarily closed to investigate the incident.
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Firefighters were able to extricate the victim from under the vehicle.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Third Thursday-goer was run over and pinned beneath a vendor's pickup truck on Thursday.

Police said the details of exactly what unfolded are still under investigation but 75-year-old Neil Atlas of Lenox was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with "serious but not life-threatening injuries."

The truck was driven by a juvenile, police said, who is not being named. The vehicle is registered to the Northeast Old  Fashion Soda Co.

"The vehicle is a Third Thursday vendor vehicle. The vehicle was being used for the set up for one of the vendor displays. The business owner directed his assistant to move the truck to get it out of the way. We don't know what happened with the operator but a pedestrian was struck, the operator panicked a little bit," Police Chief Michael Wynn said.
 
Wynn said the soda vendor was hanging signs and then was moving the vehicle off the street. The truck was "rolling forward," according to police, when it struck Atlas.
 
The Fire Department arrived on the scene near the intersection of Depot Street, jacked the Ford F350 into the air, and removed the victim from underneath. 
 
"Our officers stayed with them to keep them calm until the Fire Department got here and they did the extraction," Wynn said.
 
The chief did say the driver remained on scene, though some people at Third Thursday claimed otherwise. 
 
"The driver did not flee," Wynn said.
 
The incident occurred around 5 p.m. as the city's first block party of the year was about to begin. It posed an issue in getting vehicles to and from the scene on North Street. However, it also provided for a quick response to secure the scene with extra police officers at the event.
 
"We had a foot patrol officer with no equipment who was here practically right away. But we had difficulty getting the fire vehicles and the rest of our equipment here," Wynn said.
 
The incident does shed light on an issue the Police Department has noticed in the past of the conflicts between vendors setting up with vehicles on North Street until the very last moment.
 
"It is fairly common for vehicles to be setting up — it is one of the issues we've identified. They keep setting up right until we do the road closure and then they move off the block as we do the road closure," Wynn said.
 
Third Thursday is in its 13th year as a summer-long monthly street fair. May is the first fair of the summer. The event continued on despite the incident.
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