State, town take safety measures after 2nd fatal crash at Richmond intersection

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RICHMOND — The state Department of Transportation has approved immediate safety measures at the intersection of Route 41 and Dublin Road following the second fatal accident in recent weeks.

Beginning Friday, the speed limit on the state highway near the dangerous intersection will be reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph, Town Administrator Danielle Fillio told The Eagle on Thursday afternoon. Also, curve-ahead warning signs will be moved closer to the intersection.

The most recent accident on Wednesday afternoon took the life of Barbara Detlefsen, 72, of Slippery Rock, Pa., according to state police. There have been four accidents at the intersection this year, including another that involved a fatality last month.

Because of an embankment, traffic heading north on Route 41 toward Pittsfield can't see the Dublin Road intersection — or any vehicles turning onto or crossing over the highway — until they are almost upon it, Fillio said. And vehicles turning onto or crossing Route 41 from Dublin Road have difficulty seeing oncoming traffic on the state road.

Attempts will be made to improve sight-line visibility, according to Fillio, who said she discussed matter with Mass DOT District 1 Director Francisca Heming on Thursday.

The Select Board will review the situation at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall.

Mass DOT also has agreed to move ahead promptly with a road safety audit, as requested in a letter from the Select Board sent on Thursday, with copies to Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington and to state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, whose district includes Richmond.

The letter from the board also requests an immediate meeting to discuss additional safety measures.

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Board members were holding a regularly scheduled meeting at Town Hall just down the road on Wednesday afternoon when they learned of the latest accident, Selectman Neal Pilson said.

When first responders arrived at the scene shortly after 5:30 p.m., they found two people trapped in one of the vehicles, police said. Richmond firefighters extricated the victims, who, along with the driver of the other vehicle, were taken to Berkshire Medical Center.

Detlefsen died of her injuries. Police did not release the condition or identity of the other victims.

A 2012 Toyota Camry and 2016 Honda Accord were involved in the crash, but it's unclear which vehicle Detlefsen was in. State police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

On July 24, Roland Small, 84, of Richmond, was a passenger in a 2007 Subaru Forester that collided with a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

Small and the Subaru driver were taken to BMC, where Small later died from his injuries. The pickup driver wasn't hurt.

Small was a bassoonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra who retired in 1999 after 24 years,

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


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