Last year, Saugerties Police Chief Joe Sinagra called the intersection “an accident waiting to happen.” He was right.
Robert Carlson, 57, of Main St. was killed this morning after being struck by a utility truck at the intersection of Main and Partition streets.
Police said a surveillance video captured the tragedy, showing Carlson stepping off the curb and into the path of the truck without looking. The truck was making a right turn from Main St. onto Partition St.
Carlson was treated at the scene by paramedics from DIAZ ambulance and freed from beneath the truck by the Saugerties Fire Department. He was airlifted to Albany Medical Center where he eventually succumbed to his injuries at 1:56 p.m., according to police.
The driver of the vehicle, which police described as a 2005 Chevy dual-wheel utility truck, was Elwood Hewitt, 60, also of Saugerties. The investigation is continuing but police don’t expect to charge Hewitt with anything.
“This is an unfortunate accident and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Carlson Family,” said Police Chief Joseph Sinagra in a statement. “This is another reminder of the importance of why people need to remember to only cross the intersections in the village where designated to do so and to always check for vehicle traffic before stepping into the roadway.”
A portion of Main and Partition streets were closed for about two hours this morning while detectives conducted their investigation.
A trooper from the NYSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit assisted police detectives, conducting a DOT inspection of the truck before it was moved from the scene.
The safety at this intersection has been questioned in the past. Last year, after several close-calls, Sinagra warned that the intersection was dangerous because of low visibility for drivers and pedestrians and a lack of a designated time to cross. Unlike the intersection at Main and Market streets, there are no “WALK” and “DO NOT WALK” signs, so vehicles may pass through the intersection from one direction or another at all times.
“I never know when it’s my turn,” is a common reaction among pedestrians.
The intersection previously had timed pedestrian crossings, but they were removed in the 1980s at the request of the Village Board because they were causing traffic backups.
Last year, when Sinagra and village officials asked the state Department of Transportation about the possibility of bringing them back, they were refused. Instead, as a compromise the village decided earlier this month to set the lights to show red in all directions for 30-second intervals to give pedestrians a chance to cross, though there would be no signage.