Pedestrian Killed At York & S. Frontage

Paul Bass Photo(Updated) For the second time in nine years, a car crash has killed a pedestrian at the intersection of York Street and South Frontage Road.

The latest fatal crash took place around 3 p.m. Tuesday. Police said a driver struck a 42-year-old pedestrian, Melissa Tancredi of Waterbury, at the intersection, and she died.

Tancredi was on the sidewalk, not in the street, when the driver of the car hopped the curb and struck her, according to police. Passers-by, including medical staff from Yale-New Haven Hospital a half-block away, tried unsuccessfully to hep her at the scene and keep her alive.

The driver was a 29-year-old woman from Hamden.

“Tancredi was standing fully on the sidewalk (northeast corner) at South Frontage Road and York Street when she was struck. [The driver] was operating her car in the left-most lane of South Frontage Road. Her lane is a left-turn only lane that does not continue (ahead) beyond the intersection. Despite traveling in the left turn only lane, [the driver] continued straight. He car jumped the curbstone, continued a few feet, struck the pedestrian and then a lamp post and the corner of the Air Rights Garage,” police spokesman Officer David Hartman reported in a press release.

The department’s crash investigation unit came on scene to investigate the incident. The driver stayed on scene and cooperated. She was subsequently taken over to the hospital, where she was ] “treated and released.” Any decisions about whether to press charges against her will depend on the outcome of the crash unit’s investigation.

A New Haven “traffic-calming” and pedestrian education movement started after an earlier fatal crash at the same intersection: fourth-year Yale medical student Mila Rainoff died while crossing that intersection in 2008. After her death, a “Yale Medical Traffic Safety Group” formed to make the intersection safer and to advise pedestrians about crossing more carefully. Rainoff’s death — combined with the death of 11-year-old Gabrielle Lee as she crossed Whallely Avenue — sparked a citywide “Street Smarts” campaign that led to new laws and roadway construction aimed at slowing cars.

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posted by: LookOut on January 17, 2017  9:37pm

Come on NHI, why do you need ‘Another’ in the title?  Although this is a tragedy, let’s realize that this is one fatality every 9 years at a very busy intersection.  Assuming 7,500 car through that intersection per day (which is conservative), there were approximately 25 million cars that passed through that intersection since the last fatality.  And this instance doesn’t appear to be related to pedestrian or bike riding design….when cars drive on the side walk, bad things are likely to happen.

Again, this is a tragedy but let’s leave the over-sensationalized journalism to the national folks.

posted by: Nathan on January 18, 2017  1:03am

This is a completely different scenario than the previous pedestrian death at this intersection.  Unlike the previous tragic event, which involved a pedestrian running into traffic against signalling, this new victim was on the sidewalk.  One possible improvement would be to hang lane marker signage from above, rather than only painted on the street.  See this link for a view of the area:,-72.9349351,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxjA6I002dwnXGA_Rl71DRw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

posted by: mmrmike1 on January 18, 2017  6:15am

Please tell the whole story. The incident from 9 years ago never resulted in charges against the driver, and now you want to sensationalize it to make your story. It is sad what happened,but please get your facts straight 1st.

posted by: concerned_neighbor on January 18, 2017  10:32am

Ban cars! Pedestrians on the sidewalk aren’t safe.

NHI needs page clicks. I’ll accept a bit of sensationalism from time to time if the the remainder of NHI reporting is actually reporting and not thinly veiled opinion pieces.

posted by: robn on January 18, 2017  11:34am

Wow. The driver didn’t just clip the corner…they cut across it hard. Any back story on the condition of the driver or the reasons they did this?

posted by: William Kurtz on January 18, 2017  11:47am

It’s significant that this is the second fatality at this intersection because it’s ridiculous that motor vehicle traffic should be encouraged to move at such high speed in such close proximity to heavy pedestrian traffic. Neither of these women should have died there. I believe that the circumstances of Ms. Rainoff’s death left her technically ‘at fault’ but the fact remains that in a civilized society, a moment’s inattention shouldn’t bring a death sentence, especially when drivers are, rarely, found to be ‘at fault’ they typically escape with few if any consequences.

A radical redesign of the environment and a firm commitment to Vision Zero is absolutely called for, and as much as I admire the city’s efforts towards traffic calming and better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure they are too few and too slow.

posted by: meta on January 18, 2017  11:49am

I’m not sure why this is being labeled sensationalized reporting? I only see facts. The mention of this intersection being the scene of a past pedestrian fatality is relevant.

I’d like to see an update to this article with details as they become available. How did the car end up on the sidewalk? Distracted driving? DUI? It seems apparent from the photo that speed was a factor.

posted by: Patricia Kane on January 18, 2017  11:51am

Why did the car hop the curb and kill a pedestrian on the sidewalk?
From the look of the smashed car, the question arises as to how fast the car was traveling while in a turn lane.
Speeding and running red lights are daily occurrences in the downtown.
One night I saw a police car waiting inside the Green at the corner of Elm and Church to catch drivers running red lights. Good job, but we need more of that.
The law is that a driver must stop on yellow unless it can’t be done safely.
If pedestrians are not safe on a sidewalk, then bicyclists are even more vulnerable.
We need more ticketing of speeders and people running red lights, as well as motorcyclists with noisy mufflers.
Where are the police on these quality of life issues?

posted by: wiseman12797 on January 18, 2017  3:59pm

York and South Frontage is one of the WORST intersections in the Downtown area. The whole point of the Downtown crossing project is for the streets to be pedestrian friendly, bicycle friendly and traffic calming for the vehicles. I think on York Street there should be signs clearly telling the drivers to drive slow and watch for the pedestrians as they drive pass the hospital. I think having street smarts is very important for when you’re on the road or even crossing the street at a crosswalk. In this case the safety of the pedestrians would be the biggest problem and it should be immediately addressed and requested for the better of everyone’s safety.

posted by: Bill Saunders on January 18, 2017  8:59pm

A proper headline would have been:

“‘Reckless Driver jumps curb, kills Innocent Bystander”

posted by: duncanidaho645 on January 18, 2017  9:47pm

Actually Patricia Kane that is not the law regarding yellow lights.  As long as you have entered the intersection before the light turns red you are not in violation. 

Overhead lane use signs could be effective here.  More enforcement for distracted driving and speeds as well.  That being said it is a tragedy and the driver is simply wrong.  Not the city’s fault honestly, purely the fault of the driver.

posted by: Renewhavener on January 19, 2017  10:16am

Happened to see the crash in the moments immediately after the incident.  While the article highlights the efforts of NHPD’s crash investigation unit, unmentioned are the NHFD and EMT resources who seemed, by my untrained eye, to be working vigorously to save Ms. Tancredi’s life.

However, it occurred to me as I watched just how selfish we all have become.  I too have whipped myself up into a frustrated lather while stuck in traffic, but it was remarkable to me how challenging it seemed for some of the responders to access the intersection and how drivers and pedestrians alike kept poking and probing for improvised ways to get through.  Either by passing straight on to York or by cutting the curb from York onto South Frontage.

It was a stark contrast for me.  One group giving everything.  The other taking whatever they could.

Without detracting from the efforts of those paramedics, the incident causes me to wonder why it needed to happen this way, or at all. 

Have mentioned here before on two occasions that there are very simple devices that could have prevented this. 

And this:

And this:

Those devices are called bollards.

They are inexpensive.  They stop vehicles cold.  If the car is going to crash anyway, I maintain that they are a very small investment relative to the loss of property and now life. 

I think that investment should be made.  Here and elsewhere where the risk warrants.  Given that it is New Haven, my expectation is it will only happen if someone else steps up to pay.

posted by: Patricia Kane on January 19, 2017  11:22am

As a prosecutor explained it to me, you must stop on yellow if you can do so safely. Your comment doesn’t change that.
Obviously if one is in an intersection and the light changes from green to yellow, you can proceed.
Many lights change very quickly in downtown areas, but people are going too fast to stop on yellow.
We’ll have to wait for more details to understand why the car jumped the curb in the first place.
There should be more attention paid to speeding and running red lights.
Right now people know exactly where and when they can get away with it.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on January 19, 2017  4:42pm

Ditto to the comments made by William Kurtz and Renewhavener.

In addition to adding bollards to sidewalks along the corridor, Exit 1 off of I-91 South and Exit 47 off of I-95 North should feel like true highway exits where drivers are encouraged to slow down way before they get to Church Street. As it stands now, the cobra head lighting, wide lane widths, jersey barriers, metal guard railings, large highway signage, and the other roadway features found between the interchange and Church Street act to reinforce the idea that the highway continues into the City.

posted by: Pat from Westville on January 20, 2017  5:23pm

What I see mostly is motor vehicles continuing on through red lights when the light turned red when said vehicle(s) were at least 1 or 2 car lengths from the intersection. Just last week when I was waiting to cross at Whalley & Ellsworth, FOUR vehicles, 1 a school bus, flew through the red light that had been already red when they were at that distance from the intersection. Needless to say, I remained on the sidewalk till they were past & all the other vehicles had come to a stop. Now you’re not even safe on the sidewalk!!