Pittsfield resident, artist dies after Lenox crash

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LENOX — An accomplished local artist and longtime Pittsfield resident died Tuesday night following a two-vehicle collision on Route 7/20.

Wendy Rabinowitz, 72, of East New Lenox Road, was married to Jeffrey Borak, arts and entertainment editor of The Berkshire Eagle since 1986.

She was driving on Hubbard Street trying to cross the four-lane state highway at 3:18 p.m. when her 2017 Nissan Rogue was struck by a southbound utility truck owned by Seaboard Drilling of Springfield, according to Lenox Police Chief Stephen E. O'Brien.

Rabinowitz, who was alone in the vehicle, was transported by Lenox Ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, where she died of her injuries.

The driver of the truck, Jeffrey Nitsch, 55, of Southwick, was not injured.

Based on preliminary investigation and interviews with witnesses, O'Brien said, it appears no charges will be filed against the truck driver.

Rabinowitz specialized in Judaica mixed media and weaving. Her art work and commissions were widely exhibited in area galleries, as well as Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Milwaukee.

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"Wendy was an accomplished artist, working from her studio just outside her home with Jeffrey," said Kevin Moran, executive editor of The Berkshire Eagle. "Her art reflected intersections of peace, especially through the lenses of Judaism, the spirit of women, the earth. She had many exhibitions far and wide."

The southbound lanes of Route 7/20 were closed from the Route 7A/Main Street intersection to Housatonic Street until nearly 7 p.m. Traffic was detoured through downtown Lenox during the heavily traveled evening commute.

The Hubbard Street intersection has a history of frequent collisions; 21 accidents since 2010, including five this year — many of them involving injuries, O'Brien said.

From 2007 to 2014, there were 20 collisions, half of them resulting in injuries, according to Massachusetts Department of Transportation data. There have been several fatalities since 1999.

About 17,000 vehicles a day use that stretch of road, known as the bypass, and that increases to 20,000 in the summer, according to DOT data. The Hubbard Street crossover is used by an average of 750 vehicles daily.

The accident remains under investigation by Lenox Police, the state police detective unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement sections.

Also assisting at the scene were the Lenox Fire Department, officers from the state police Lee barracks, Lee Police and staffers from the nearby Massachusetts Department of Transportation District 1 Office.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter@BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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