Lenox police chief may seek turn restriction after crash at Route 7 & 20 and Holmes Road

Wednesday November 21, 2012

LENOX -- Following the ninth accident in three years at the busy intersection of Route 7 & 20 (Pittsfield Road) and Holmes Road, Police Chief Stephen O’Brien is considering asking the state Department of Transportation to ban all left turns from the southbound lane of the highway except on a designated green turn signal.

Monday evening’s three-vehicle accident was caused by a southbound driver making a left on a green signal despite oncoming traffic. The resulting collision sent Ethan E. Owen, 46, of Williamstown Road (Route 7) in Lanesborough to Berkshire Medical Center with serious but not life-threatening injuries, according to the Lenox Police accident report.

Owen was listed in stable condition Tuesday afternoon, according to hospital officials.

Failiure to yield

Police said Fausto R. Calero, 69, of Pomeroy Avenue, Pittsfield, failed to yield to oncoming northbound traffic when he attempted to make a left from the southbound Pittsfield Road turning lane onto Holmes Road at 6:15 p.m. on Monday.

Calero’s 2002 Dodge Caravan was struck by Owen’s northbound 2002 Jeep Grand Cher okee, which then collided with a 2001 Toyota RAV4 driven by Tracy R. Wilson, 56, of Werden Road, Becket. Her vehicle had been stopped at a red light on Holmes Road at the intersection.

Vehicles badly damaged

Neither Calero nor Wilson was injured, but all three badly damaged vehicles were towed from the scene. Wilson is executive director of the Berkshire Music School in Pittsfield.

Before coming to a final stop on its side, Owen’s car struck a traffic light utility pole. He was extricated by the Lenox Fire Department’s Jaws of Life and was transported by ambulance to BMC.

The accident was investigated by Lenox Police Officer Michael Smith. Lenox Fire Department members and state police also responded to the scene.

After reviewing several years of data, O’Brien said that a majority of accidents at the intersection occur when southbound drivers attempt to make a left turn onto Holmes on a green light despite a sign warning that the turn can be made only after yielding to oncoming traffic. There is a left-turn directional arrow allowing motorists to make the turn safely, he added, while northbound traffic is stopped.

"People make the mistake that the green light allows them to make the turn no matter what the northbound traffic is doing," O’Brien said. According to his records, there have been four accidents at the intersection so far this year, two last year, and three in 2010.

O’Brien said he expects to contact state authorities to ask that they consider signage bearing the left turns except on a green directional arrow.


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