Motorcyclist Strikes Elderly Pedestrian

A 73-year-old man was apparently crossing against a “Don’t Walk” signal at Whalley and Orchard around 8:20 p.m. Monday when a motorcyclist hit him—and may end up having killed him.

That’s the word from police spokesman Officer David Hartman.

Hartman said the police department’s Crash Investigation Unit is still working on the case.

The pedestrian, Willie Gay, was “pushing a shopping cart across the roadway” when the motorcyclist—a Waterbury man with a female passenger—struck him, according to Hartman. Gay was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where his condition is considered critical and his injuries life-threatening.

The motorcyclist and passenger were treated at the scene for minor injuries. The police did not charge the motorcyclist with an offense.

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posted by: anonymous on May 6, 2014  10:38am

The pedestrian walk signal doesn’t allow enough time for most elderly pedestrians to cross this 100 foot stretch of road.

The pedestrian is yet another victim of our highway department’s design standards, which place the rights of suburban speeders over those of the people who actually live here.

Just because the don’t walk sign was on, doesn’t mean the motorcyclist shouldn’t be charged with an offense. The elderly pedestrian might have been crossing with the light, but just run out of time - like nearly every other elderly pedestrian would in this situation.

Also, how fast was the driver traveling?  On roads like Whalley, drivers must be traveling slowly enough that they can react in time if a child or elderly pedestrian is in the road, and not hit them at a deadly speed. Just because the speed limit is 25 doesn’t mean that you should actually be driving that fast at night, when you can’t see people who might be crossing.

posted by: robn on May 6, 2014  1:22pm


All good questions and a good point about time allotment but there’s a missing question. What was the walk signal at the moment the pedestrian entered the crosswalk?

The article states that the pedestrian was crossing against a Don’t Walk signal but this isn’t relevant and state law is very clear on this subject. If a pedestrian legally enters a crosswalk at a signaled intersection (“legally” meaning the pedestrian enters when the walk signal is green, not red) they have the right of way no matter how much time it takes them to cross.

posted by: JustAnotherTaxPayer on May 6, 2014  2:58pm

Part of the problem is that many motorists are under the belief that all pedestrians were raised and trained about the dangers of crossing streets, when they were very young. I know this sounds ridiculous, but after 40 years of driving in cities, but mainly about New Haven, it struck me that a certain percentage of people who travel into the city, come from areas of less traffic, and are not made aware in their childhood the danger of being struck by a moving motor vehicle.

Then there are those who were never brought up in an environment where the simplest of instrutions, that are necessary to live and survive in a city were ever given to them in detail. You can see folks like this every day in New Haven. Also those that will intentionally walk in front of moving cars, buses, trucks, as they believe this is an expression of disdain for a society that has put them “down” from birth, even though common sense tells one they will lose the contest in the collision if the car does not stop. There are those walking around New Haven that intentionally try to be run over, so as to create a law suit. Then there are the true “accidents”; misjudgements that result in tragedy.

Next time you are driving through downtown New Haven, just count the number of people that stand on a curb, waiting to cross, inches from vehicles moving by. It’s amazing there is no fear, some even push their infants ahead of them inches over the curb, in their strollers, and have no idea how close they put their babies lives near an end. All a driver would have to do is sneeze to hard, jerk the wheel, and one of these curb hangers would go sailing through the air. And it happens annually, but the ones the press seem to only cover are the Yalies, who annually make their sacrifices to the Gods of Motor Vehicles on Frontage Rd, College St, or Elm St.

brilliant individuals that someone forgot to show how to cross a street safely.

Maybe someone could open a school for these poor people.

posted by: robn on May 6, 2014  4:20pm


You’ve alluded to the irresponsible pedestrian behavior of goldbrickers, students, families with infants and of course, the oppressed masses. I’ve seen the same behavior amongst those demographics as well as suits, homeless, seniors, kids, middle aged, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, athletes, dog walkers, grocery carriers and of course, the new favorite Darwin award candidate, the smart-phone reader.
My point is that it crosses all demographics suggesting my rants about lack of traffic enforcement (caused by the state hogging ticket dollars) have merit.
A year long blitzkrieg of ticket issuing for peds, cyclist, and cars would change our street culture in a good way.

posted by: budman on May 7, 2014  7:36am

Anonymous, this is just yet another great example of how you fabricate facts to align with your own agenda.  First, pull out a tape measure, I hardly think the road is 100 feet wide.  Secondly, the motorcyclist was from Waterbury (hardly suburban).

I am saddened both for the gentleman that may lose his life, and for the motorcyclist that struck him.  I am sure it was equally terrifying. Everyone, in a car, motorcycle, bike, walking, or running, must be aware of their surroundings and pay closer attention. There are just way too many people using streets and sidewalks without any regard for others.  Be respectful people.

posted by: anonymous on May 7, 2014  10:12am

Budman - it’s 92 feet at Orchard and Whalley. Sorry I was off by 8 feet.

posted by: nhpdbornandraised on May 8, 2014  3:22pm

I work and live in New Haven. I knew this man overall. He was a quiet and docile older gentleman that always collected cans (hence the shopping cart). It’s very sad that he has passed away due to this accident. Honestly he never paid too much attention to crosswalk signs and would always be pushing his cart in the street off and on….you folks have some great points in terms of the illiterate nature of pedestrians…it’s unfortunately going to result in possibly more fatalities and injuries. If New Haven wants to tackle the problem they would need some of these rookie walking beats to enforce those issues with pedestrians. That’s my two cents….great dialogue overall on this issue.