Casino-bound bus runs red light, touches of multi-car collision in Lenox


Update: The motorist slightly injured in Tuesday morning's multi-vehicle collision at the intersection of Routes 7 and 20 and Route 7A (Main Street) in Lenox was Jill Putignano, 53, of Pittsfield. Her car was extensively damaged and towed from the scene. As reported online Wednesday and in print on Thursday, Travel Kuz bus driver Richard P. Carson, 68, of Easthampton, was ticketed for running a red light at the intersection, causing damage to three cars awaiting a green light at the intersection. Lenox Police will be issuing a revised accident report, and the following article has been updated.

LENOX -- A fully loaded passenger bus en route to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut ran a red light at the busy intersection of Routes 7 & 20 and 7A on Tuesday morning, causing a chain reaction collision involving three cars.

"It could have been a lot worse," said Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.

O'Brien said that only one person, the driver of the first vehicle hit in the crash, suffered minor injuries. The bus driver was cited for running a red light, he said.

The southbound casino-tour bus, operated by Travel Kuz, which had left Pittsfield on a scheduled run at about 7:30 a.m. after picking up passengers in North Adams and Adams, was driven by Richard P. Carson, 68, of Easthampton.

The coach, carrying 29 passengers, was unable to stop for the red light as it approached the intersection, said O'Brien, citing possible inattention to the light as well as a wet road.

A 2007 Subaru was proceeding through a green light on Route 7A at the intersection and was struck by the bus, according to the police report.

That car, careening from the impact, then collided with two other vehicles waiting at the intersection.

One of the drivers, Jill Putignano, 53, of Pittsfield, was the only person injured, O'Brien said, and her vehicle was the only one that sustained extensive damage.

The coach proceeded to a nearby rest area where a second bus took passengers to their destination.

Darlene Kuzmeskus, the president and CEO of Travel Kuz, based in Gill, told The Eagle that Carson remains employed by the line and had a perfect seven-year safety record.

She also said the bus line has an excellent safety rating, citing records of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.

The agency's website listed one accident involving an injury, which Kuzmeskus said occurred "a long time ago" and involved a bus hit by a tractor-trailer. She also said an insurance company report on the accident varied in some details from the police findings.

The website also listed three speeding tickets issued to Travel Kuz drivers but gave the company a high rating.

The accident was investigated by Lenox officer William Colvin. Lenox Ambulance and the Lenox Fire Department assisted at the scene.


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