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Fatal Crash Brings Attention to Speeding on Litchfield Turnpike

Police investigate accident that took the life of a New Haven man

Woodbridge Police are investigating a fatal accident that took place on the Litchfield Turnpike near the intersection of Bond Road last week. The accident happened at 4:37 p.m. on April 26. Police, fire and emergency personnel responded to the scene of the head-on collision.

According to police reports, both drivers were the only occupants in their vehicles. The driver of a Honda Civic, Alvaro Nava-Perez of New Haven was brought to the Hospital of Saint Raphael, where he succumbed to his injuries. Police say his car crossed the center line of the road and hit another car, driven by Christine Patafio, also of New Haven. She was treated and released from Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The accident prompted Maralyn Klatzkin, a resident of Bond Road, to appeal to the Woodbridge Police Commission last evening.

“The speed at which people travel is absolutely inappropriate,” she says.

Though police have not identified speed as a factor in last week’s accident, they do admit that drivers speed on the Litchfield Turnpike.

Chief of Police Eugene Marcucci told Klatzkin the department would put a machine that measures speed on Bond Road.

“I hear the cars going by and I gasp. We need some kind of plan to slow the drivers down,” she says.

According to Klatzkin, cars coming off of Litchfield Turnpike speed up her road. Marcucci said he’d continue to look at what can be done to encourage drivers to slow down on the Litchfield Turnpike.

“It goes from 35 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour on that road,” he says. Police continue to investigate the accident that claimed the life of a New Haven man on the Litchfield Turnpike.

Armand May 03, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Is this a new issue that people speed on Litchfield Tpke.? NO. I live on this road and watch people drive way too fast past my house all the time. I mean twice the speed limit fast! We have asked for the police to take action before in Bethany and have yet to see any presence of them. Our dog has been hit in front of our house as well as several of our neighbors pets have been injured or killed. I guess we have to wait until a person gets killed until any action is taken. Kinda like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
Colleen May 03, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I agree 100 percent. My son's have to stand out on Litchfield turnpike for the bus and I make sure they are standing behind the stop sign at the end of our street. People are always crossing the double lines to pass. It's not safe!! I drive at about 45-50 mph down Litchfield turnpike and I get passed almost every day by cars going at least 65 mph. And if they don't pass me they tailgate. I understand it is an easy road to speed on but really people need to slow down and STOP passing in the no passing zones. I really think that they need HEAVY police precence on Litchfield turnpike.
E.B. WALSH May 03, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Until I actually read the details I thought an issues I have been harping about for years had finally cost someone their life. My regrets to the families involved in this situation. I hope no one is ever killed traveling on Litchfield near Bond where the state DOT painted the passing lane strips the wrong way. If you a driving southbound on Litchfield you can plainly see, that the current striping configuration could cause someone passing another car to end up on in very blind curve. The unsuspecting northbound driver would have no time to react, thus causing a head on collision. http://binged.it/ILZnOQ I have seen other back roads of the state with poorly planned passing areas, but NONE that lead into a blind curve.
Chantal & David Hendricks May 03, 2012 at 01:50 PM
This is horrible news. I'm so sorry for the family. My husband & sons were involved in the crash 2 years ago on Litchfield Tpke which took the life of a Bethany teenager who was speeding, and seriously injured a mother and her two daughters. There are always cars passing me in the opposite lane because I'm driving the speed limit...and often it's on a curve where a car could possibly be coming from the other direction. Why can't they wait until it changes to two lanes to pass? Be safe everyone!
Alex May 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Fatalities? How many more do we need? Forty years we've lived in Bethany and lost count on that road. Woodbridge police definitely have more presence than state thus restricting reckless driving when able. Bethany is a whole other story! The town should be ashamed of themselves. We live near Hatfield Hill and not a year goes by that someone isn't seriously injured or killed and I truly think the town and state need to take action before more unfortunate accidents occur! Condolences to the family as well.that there
Renee R. May 03, 2012 at 03:07 PM
So very sad, regardless of whether reckless driving/speeding was an issue in these accidents, or not. My first experience with a friend's death was in the mid-60's when a junior high classmate from Bethany, and his father, were killed on that very same stretch of road bringing home a pizza from New Haven. When I was a kid, my mother was rear-ended while waiting to turn onto Bond Road. She very well could have been another Litchfield Turnpike fatality statistic. Many times I have continued driving north if I notice the car behind me is driving too fast, rather than risk being rear-ended waiting to go up Bond Road -- RIP Peter Hepler and father, Gregg Caliendo and all others who have lost their lives on this road.
Betsy W. May 04, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Route 69 aka the "Waterbury Connection" or "New Haven Connection" is notorious for speeders. Also, with no traffic lights for miles, and a being a really dark road, makes it a speeders racetrack.

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