WESTFIELD — The Westfield Police Department is actively investigating two separate motor vehicle accidents — including one that killed a local woman’s dog — which recently occurred at separate crosswalks within the community.
According to information provided by the Westfield Police Department, the first incident occurred at approximately 4:51 p.m. on December 8, when an unidentified 72-year-old Westfield woman was struck by a westbound vehicle while walking her dog across a crosswalk at the intersection of Boulevard and East Grove Street.
“The victim was provided initial emergency medical care on the scene by Westfield police officers and then firefighters and was subsequently transported to Morristown Memorial Hospital by the Westfield Rescue Squad and paramedics,” Sergeant Michael Walsh said. “The dog also sustained injuries and was transported by Westfield police officers to an emergency animal hospital on behalf of the victim.”
The dog, Mayor Shelley Brindle said via social media earlier this week, died shortly thereafter.
The second incident, police said, occurred on the morning of December 11 and involved a collision between a motor vehicle and an electronic scooter at the intersection of South Avenue West and Tuttle Parkway.
The operator of the scooter, identified by police only as a 21-year-old female resident of Fanwood, was transported to University Hospital in Newark after suffering a head injury during the collision.
“While preliminary information shows that speeding was not a factor in any of them, distracted driving appears to have been at the root of each accident. It is a very busy time of year, and distracted driving can clearly be extremely dangerous,” Mayor Brindle said. “When driving, please pay attention, especially when approaching crosswalks in order to yield to pedestrians. If you’re walking, take extra precautions and be mindful of distracted drivers and wear reflective clothing at night.”
Town officials will look into additional safety measures over the course of the coming weeks, Mayor Brindle said.
“In our continued efforts to enhance safety at the intersection of Grove and Boulevard, the town has implemented several significant safety measures at this location in recent years, including new center islands for traffic calming, new signage, and two solar speed boxes placed on Grove in both directions before approaching the intersection at Boulevard, but it seems more intervention is needed,” the mayor said, adding that a previous analysis conducted to determine whether to convert the intersection into a four-way stop “did not meet the state-established criteria.”
“The town will now be looking into additional measures that can be deployed in the short term — including a pedestrian-activated flashing beacon — and will make recommendations for long-term, permanent improvements after thoroughly reviewing the accident reports and revisiting the four-way stop analysis with more recent data,” Mayor Brindle said.
The Public Safety Committee, which meets monthly in partnership with the Town of Westfield, the New Jersey Police Department and the local fire department, also will prioritize additional recommendations in three traffic-safety areas: evaluation/ assessment, enforcement, and public education, Mayor Brindle said.
“In the meantime, please do your part to ensure the safety of our community by paying attention to the road, putting down your phone, and slowing down when driving,” the mayor continued. “Distracted driving is a serious issue that can pose great danger to the community, as we have witnessed over the past few days. Please take your safety responsibilities seriously when driving, and join me in sending prayers for a full and speedy recovery for the two hospitalized victims.”