One woman was killed when an alleged drunk driver collided with her car while he was trying to make a left hand turn at the intersection of Old Country Road and Levittown Parkway. The Hicksville Fire Department states that this is their most active intersection involving car accidents.
A Plainview woman was killed and another seriously injured in an alleged alcohol-related traffic accident in the early evening of Wednesday, March 4.
The accident occurred when the women, driving eastbound on Old Country Road in their red Toyota Tercel, were struck by another car traveling westbound and attempting to turn onto Levittown Parkway.
The collision killed the woman in the passenger seat of the Tercel and fractured the leg of the female driver. The operator of the other vehicle was not injured in the accident and was arrested at the scene for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI).
The accident, although allegedly alcohol-related, is just the latest in a series of accidents that have occurred at this intersection.
Owen Magee, public relations director of the Hicksville Fire Department, states that there are approximately 2-3 accidents a month at this intersection.The intersection was the site of a four-car accident just two weeks previous to this one.
"People are misjudging the speed of the eastbound traffic and are turning in front of them," he explains. "Most of the accidents that occur at that corner are left hand-turn accidents."
The frequency and similarity of the incidents at this location has county, town and fire officials concerned as to the safety of the intersection and effectiveness of the traffic signals.
County Legislator Edward Mangano chairs the committee under which the Department of Highways and Traffic Safety falls and has called for an immediate traffic study of the intersection.
"We have to see if there is a better way to help minimize the hazard at that intersection," said Mangano.
Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Thomas Clark, who lives in Hicksville and is familiar with the dangerous intersection, stated that he plans to speak with the county engineer about possible remedies.
"There are traffic lights there now and we are still having accidents," said Clark. "Something has to be done."
Currently there is a turn lane and signal for west bound traffic attempting to turn off Old Country and onto Levittown Parkway. The problem arises, according to Magee, after the turn signal turns yellow. The turn light does not turn red, instead, it turns a solid green and allows traffic to turn when it is possible.
Although the light is the county's responsibility, Magee believes the situation can be made less volatile with the inclusion of a turn only signal to the traffic light that turns red after it allows the traffic to turn. He indicates that at the one intersection where this situation exists, Newbridge and Old Country, there are practically no accidents because people are not afforded the opportunity to take chances while turning against traffic.
"If that turn light had been red, there is a good chance this driver would have never attempted to turn against oncoming traffic," said Magee.