“Independent Witnesses Don’t Lie”

Alvaro Nunez had a story ready for Officer Katherine Bisson after his tan Toyota Corolla plowed into a silver Prius. Unfortunately for him, four other people had been standing at the corner watching.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Church and Wall streets by the state courthouse at around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday. It banged up both cars with serious front-end damage. The drivers themselves did not appear to have sustained significant injuries.

Nunez, a 27-year-old New Haven man who said he services boats for a living, was driving north on Church. The driver of the Prius (who declined to be interviewed) was traveling eastbound on Wall.

Two men standing on the corner at the time—Allen Smith and Joe Comfort —told the Independent they watched Nunez drive straight through a very red light and slam into the Prius, whose driver was passing through a green light.

“It [the crash] in fact knocked the glass out of his side window,” Smith noted. “He wasn’t speeding. But he was going fast enough.”

Two other bystanders told the police officer on the scene, Katherine Bisson, the same story.

Nunez began telling Bisson that he had the green light. She told him about the four independent witnesses who said otherwise.

“Independent witnesses don’t lie,” she said.

“They don’t know you. They don’t know her. OK?”

Then Nunez tried another tack.

“I followed the car that was next to me,” he said.

“Listen,” Bisson calmly replied. “You have to make sure it’s green. I don’t know if you didn’t check that out or what. But you know what happens when you run a red light? These things happen.”

She wrote him a ticket for running a red light.

“Put your flashers on. You’re going to need a tow,”

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posted by: Rebecca Bombero on December 5, 2012  1:35pm

The City of New Haven will again support state legislation that would enable the use of Traffic Signal Enforcement Devises - Red Light Cameras.  If you would like to help advocate for this policy change please let me know Rebecca Bombero - Legislative Director - City of New Haven

posted by: NoClovers on December 5, 2012  2:38pm

Please use some common sense people, we don’t need red light cameras, they dont work. Just another way for you to be watched and cough up money to a corrupt city. Who wants to live in tattle tale society? Every one us breaks a law in some way, shape or form everyday. Get over it. Rebecca Bombero your servies are not needed here, thank you, the public is more than capable to function without a goverment that wants to hold our hand while they pick out pockets…sorry about your car bro.

posted by: Curious on December 5, 2012  3:25pm

Why does NHI publish the names of witnesses to an accident, but not, you know, actual CRIMINALS who we might want to know and avoid?

Also, Rebecca, I totally support red light cameras, and will be contacting you.

[Editor: Accused “criminals” don’t equal “criminals.” We usually don’t print the names of people accused of a crime unless we get their side or if they’ve been convicted—or if they’re public figures whose crimes are relevant to their public duties. If someone falsely accused you of a crime, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for people avoiding you for the rest of your life.]

posted by: JuliS on December 5, 2012  3:36pm

Red light running is absolutely out of control in this city—arguably worse than anywhere else I’ve been.

@noclovers your solution is to ignore it? How many accidents would be enough of a call to action?

posted by: CityWatcher on December 5, 2012  9:47pm

Sorry to say but New Haven and Yale PD officers are some of the worst violators around. We don’t need camera’s we need acactualnforcement. Maybe a crackdown on cops staying in the “red” to avoid calls for lengthy periods of time then claim manpower shortages or 5 hour response times to calls.

posted by: HhE on December 5, 2012  9:50pm

Really NoClovers?  So running red lights is no big deal since everybody does it?  Or is it okay because other people are also doing other things that are wrong?

People are doing such a good job driving safely without government intervention, that I find walking in New Haven scarier than walking in any other US city. 

Bring on the cameras says I.

posted by: Wildwest on December 6, 2012  9:00am

I’m happy to see the NHPD giving out a ticket for running a red light, too bad an accident had to happen first. I sure would love to see them giving out more traffic violations BEFORE accidents occur though.

I dont like the idea of traffic enforcement cameras but in a town where the cops are mostly oblivious to dangerous drivers I say install them everywhere.

posted by: NoClovers on December 6, 2012  10:11am

I do in fact work in public safety so I cant say i’ve seen the repercussions of this ‘out of control’ red light running. What facts is this opinion based upon? It would be nice to see some people go back to the days of taking personal responsibility again. Yes, people run red lights; big friggin deal.

If you are driving and pay attention you can avoid a collision rather than talk on your ‘sail fawns’; the same goes for pedestrians, walking arbitrarily into the street will get you hit by a car. Follow your mother’s advice and look both ways!

If you can’t handle that ‘big kid’ task then cross only when at crosswalks when given the signal (the red hand means pedestrians are not advised to cross there may be a car, the thing roads were designed for, may be coming)

I intend on starting a professional ‘hand holding’ business in New Haven. There seems to be a big market for people unable to do basic tasks; services include street crossing assistance, bicycle riding guidance, and slightly uneven sidewalk avoidance. In addition, I can snap photos of people performing unsafe tasks in the hopes one day I can criminalize that behavior because in addition to be heavily taxed in this city, I also enjoy being overly ticketed/fined.

posted by: Wildwest on December 6, 2012  10:32am

NoClovers logic says that all drivers should stop and look both ways at green lights…

Not a bad idea here in New Haven.

posted by: anonymous on December 6, 2012  10:37am

NoClovers, I’m not sure your joke will be that funny to know when a few people who you know die because of the failure of government to provide safe infrastructure. 

Also, roads were not “designed for cars” - in fact, they represent the vast majority of public space in our cities. They were designed to provide for places for people to meet and talk, places to play, for the movement of people of all ages (not just the few who are wealthy and able-bodied enough to operate cars), and for facilitating other economic activity such as cafes, delivery vehicles, and stores. 

Until DeStefano begins designing roads for these purposes, instead of his current plan to create highways and widen roads like MLK and Whalley, we will never live in a city that is prosperous for all people, not just the middle aged suburbanites with jobs at Yale.

posted by: HhE on December 6, 2012  11:36am

NoClovers, running a red light is a big deal, and the problem is only getting worse.  The difference between running a red light and many other unsafe acts is running a red light endangers other people.  Case in point, this accident caused because someone ran a red light and plowed into another person’s car.  “Sorry Bro” does not repair the Prius.  For those who cannot take the personal responsibility to stop at a red light, we have sanctions.

posted by: HhE on December 6, 2012  12:24pm

Very true, MikeM, very true.  In fact, I do, just for that reason. 

I also look both ways when crossing a one way street.  I try to locate obstacles I can jump behind when wait for a light or walking on a side walk.  When I am thinking of a new car, my first two criteria is crashworthiness and performance to escape danger.  What a town, thanks to people like NoClover.

The only place I have ever been that is scarier is China.  The South of France and Rome got nothing on us.  Crazy.