Driver Cited After Co-Op Crash


(Update) Police have concluded that the driver of a pick-up was responsible for an early Wednesday morning crash that led firefighters to rescue a woman trapped inside a Jeep that smashed into the new Elm City Market co-op on Chapel Street.

The crash occurred around 6:30 a.m.

The driver of a Dodge Ram was traveling south on State Street when he ran a red light, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman. He hit a Jeep whose driver had been traveling west on Chapel Street.

The crash sent the Jeep “crashing and spinning” over the sidewalk on Chapel into a bus shelter, Hartman said. Then it crashed into a door and window at the Elm City Market.

The Jeep had a driver, a human passenger, and a dog inside.

WTNH reported that tenants in the adjoining 360 State Street apartment tower could feel the building shake.

The immediate concern was the female passenger pinned inside. Members of Squad Company 1, led by Lt. Greg Boivin, spent 30-40 minutes getting her out. Firefighters Carl DiNello, Stanley Slubowski, Jay McCarthy, and Luis Ortegon all participated in the rescue.

It was a delicate operation, said fire Capt. William Gambardella.

“She was wedged up. We had to cut her seat and drop her seat and put a long board in through the back hatchway. We pulled her through the back of the vehicle,” he said. “The guys did an excellent job getting her out of there. It was a pretty tough pin job.”

The woman was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital, as were the two drivers, according to Gambardella. He said she had no “apparent” major injuries. The others’ injuries also appeared minor at first glance, he said.

The crash broke a window and emergency-exit door at the market, according to office manager Heather Hinckley. The SUV didn’t actually enter the main store itself, she said. The market opened up at 8 a.m. as usual, with no disruption.

“It’s a little less dramatic than first thought,” Hinckley said.

Police spokesman David Hartman said the dog was taken to the police department’s animal shelter. The crash apparently did not injure the dog, Hartman said.

The police issued the Ram driver a citation for running the red light, an infraction.

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posted by: Ben on December 7, 2011  12:35pm

Did the dog make it to the animal shelter or was there a second dog?
I saw a dog running up state minutes after the accident scared with a collar and the small leash like the animal catchers use. 

Was the dog found in east rock post accident?

posted by: anon on December 7, 2011  12:45pm

10 pedestrians could easily have been run over and killed in this incident. 

How come the city just added 500 more housing units and a market to this corner, but didn’t do anything to create traffic calming, or adequate bus transit, biking, and walking infrastructure? 

In fact they built a signalized intersection (at the garage entrance on State) that has no crosswalk whatsoever, which endangers people trying to cross State Street.

posted by: first observer on December 7, 2011  1:17pm

anon is completely correct.  Plus, WTNH reports that police say the driver of the pickup ran through a red light at the intersection, then plowed into the SUV, sending it into the market.

When will this city ever get serious about cracking down on red-light runners?  WHEN??

posted by: streever on December 7, 2011  1:22pm

Per usual, they built that signalized intersection purely for the large developer, to accommodate vehicular traffic. They completely ignored the many nice small businesses on State Street (the bar/restaurant a block away), by denying them easy access to the 500 tenants of that large building, by not taking adequate measures to build pedestrian infrastructure.

This is how our city is run: small steps toward improvement, large incentives for people with millions of dollars. Little to nothing is done to support the neighborhood establishment around the corner. We’d rather encourage the 500 potential tenants to drive elsewhere than walk a block to the nearest restaurant and bar.

It really makes you question who is at the helm, when you see a signalized intersection (one of 3 in one block), which exists purely to make it convenient for future tenants of 360 to drive in and out of their private parking lot—which the city mandated they build.

If New Haven is serious about becoming a livable, walkable community, they need to stop mandating that everyone else cater to their easy auto-centric designs.

posted by: Rob on December 7, 2011  1:38pm

This article leaves out the members of Engine 4 and Emergency 1 who arrived first and did a great job of stabilizing the Patient and the scene.  Nice job by Lt. Boivin and his crew on Squad 1.

posted by: fairhavener on December 7, 2011  6:26pm

What about the dog?:(

posted by: l on December 7, 2011  8:46pm

Can’t have nuthin’ nice in New Haven w/o a red-light runner crashing into it. That “driver” should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, because of the tragic possible consequences of his actions.

posted by: DingDong on December 7, 2011  10:28pm

A citation for a traffic infraction is all that you get for causing this amount of potentially lethal mayhem? So the driver will get off with a roughly $100-$200 fine?

Couldn’t they charge him with reckless endangerment? Or reckless driving at least?

Reckless endangerment in the second degree in Connecticut: “a person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the second degree when (he/she) recklessly engages in conduct which creates a risk of physical injury to another person.”

Who makes the decisions about what to charge? THe state or the NHPD?  Whoever it is is showing that they don’t take traffic safety seriously.  It’s really outrageous!
NHI—I hope you follow up on this story.

posted by: newhavengill on December 7, 2011  10:35pm

I hope the passenger is ok.

@Ben Thanks for reporting the dog (  I hope the dog in the article is the same dog in SCF.

posted by: Rich on December 8, 2011  9:12am

Come on Anon and Streever ... Just an accident by someone running a red light. It had nothing to do with the building, sidewalk or businesses in the area. Think about the taxes that place brings in and it is pretty nice too. ...

posted by: robn on December 8, 2011  9:58am

The good news is that 360 State has added so much to the grand list….. Or….. Maybe not.

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on December 8, 2011  10:27am

No matter how many lights of stop signs that are in New Haven, some drivers will still ignore them.  Stop signs are run routinely in this city and every other one in America, thanks to cell phones, texting, and general inattention.  I’m not surprised this happened, but I do hope it never happens again.  At that intersection, a lot of people could have been seriously hurt or killed.

posted by: JackNH on December 8, 2011  1:42pm

... a citation, and that’s IT????  When are the police going to enforce traffic rules??

posted by: me on December 8, 2011  2:15pm

to anon. Do u drive. prob not. talk about traffic calming- there are now 4 traffic lights on State street in a two block stretch. If no one stops for the red signal i don’t care if you have a hundred lights. Its the NHPD that ddoesn’tnforce this rule and why so many people ignore red signals. No penalty. No stop. BTW where the left turn signal from chapel onto state. Its addividedihighwaynd hard to make the turn when you cant see over the bridge

posted by: Brian M. on December 8, 2011  4:37pm

Is it honestly the opinion of the commentariat here that there aren’t enough stop lights on State Street?

Anyone who’s ever tried to drive to Union Station on State has to notice that you stop at nearly every single red light. I don’t know how that “calms” anyone who cares at all about, oh, something like making a train.

Traffic lights are a fetish in this town, and I’d bet that by syncing the lights so that drivers have to stop at every single signal, for the full duration of the signal, the reverse sync is actually encouraging bad behavior.

How about something predictable and rational, instead of signal-created congestion cheered on by people who don’t drive and have a bizarre hostility to people who don’t walk to work from East Rock.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on December 8, 2011  6:38pm

Brian M.

It doesn’t seem like there is a common voice or “commentariat(?)” in this thread. It seems like there are many differing opinions, and if anything there is overwhelming diagreement with anon and Streever, but because people are misunderstanding their arguments.

Where was there a suggestion for more traffic lights? The only opinions I read about traffic lights were that people often run them and that New Haven shouldn’t build public infrastructure that only serves one giant private interest.

This outlines many good ways to calm streets, pretty much none of which include traffic lights. I think this is what anon and Streever are talking about. ConnDot has designed many streets in New Haven for 45 mph+ travel in heavily pedestrian areas, and many buildings have created many curb cuts for off-street parking, which conflicts with the high-capactiy nature of the roads, causing an enormous design problem of actual use vs intended design use.

State Street, which was formerly a two-way two lane road with on street parking, is now a high-speed thoroughfare with lots of adjacent access for driveways, parking lots, garages and streets. Traffic calming design elements like narrower lanes, mid-block curb bump-outs, corner curb bump-outs, textured crosswalks, raised crosswalks, etc, would help to encourage drivers to travel at the speed limits rather than the current speed that the road is designed for, which is 45 mp (12 foot lanes).

Good traffic calming designs decrease the need for traffic lights and excessive signage because there are other inherent characteristics built into the street that subconsciously tell drivers to drive slower and pay attention, which helps to move traffic more smoothly and carry a greater number of cars.