Vehicles Kill Pedestrian, Seriously Injure Another, in Keene, Brattleboro

One of the best ways to prevent climate change, and to prevent some of the thousands of deaths that are caused annually by lung cancer caused by smog from cars and trucks, is to travel by walking or riding a bicycle. These modes of travel also reduce obesity. Obesity causes health problems that cost American taxpayers billions of dollars annually.

In Keene on November 29 at about 11 a.m., the driver of a New Hampshire Department of Transportation dump truck drove the truck into a pedestrian, killing the pedestrian. The pedestrian was Robert C. Wells of Keene. He was 52. The accident was on Route 9. Wells was on his way to work at the Monadnock Marketplace when he was killed. The truck had 10 wheels. It was towing a 20 ton trailer. Anyone who was a witness to the event or has further information is encouraged to contact Sgt. Jason Short of the Keene Police Department at (603) 357-9815 x1.

The Valley Post left a phone message for Short on December 7 to find out if he is charging the driver with a crime. Short’s secretary said Short would get the message on December 7. The Post will update this article when Short calls.

[12/9/2011 UPDATE: On December 9, Sgt. Short told the Valley Post that police will not press charges against the truck driver. "There were no issues of speed or anything like that," he said. "We're waiting for the medical examiner's report" on the corpse.]

On November 30 in Brattleboro, Brattleboro resident Susan Press, age 68, was walking across Western Avenue at Spruce Street at about 6 p.m. She was hit by a car driven by Carolyn Gregory, age 69. Gregory also lives in Brattleboro. Press suffered significant injuries and was taken by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

On December 7, Brattleboro police detective Paul Beebe told the Valley Post that Press is alive and that he is still investigating the incident. He said he does not know when the investigation will end. He declined to say anything else about the incident or Press’s health.

One of the busiest roads in Brattleboro, Putney Road, has traffic lights at several intersections, but most of the intersections do not have pedestrian crosswalks and none have "walk" signals. On some sections of the road, the shoulder is about six inches wide and there is no sidewalk or bike lane.

In Amherst, on May 25, 2009, Misty Bassi, age 33, was killed by a car while riding her bicycle at around 10:30 a.m. Bassi was a janitor at UMass. The motorist fled the scene, but police caught them.

Annually, almost 700 people are killed by cars while riding their bikes nationwide. Many more are seriously injured.

David Watson is director of www.massbike.org He told The Valley Post after Bassi’s death, "It's a tragedy whenever a cyclist is hit. With growing numbers of people choosing to walk or bike, we support the state and local communities doing more to ensure that biking and walking are safe and convenient options for everyone." In Europe and in New York City, bike lanes are often separated from cars and trucks by a physical barrier. These kind of improvements can be funded with a tax on gas.

In 2009, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg closed major streets to all cars and trucks. All vehicles are still banned from those streets.

More information on how people are working to make walking and bicycle riding safer is at:

-for Massachusetts www.massbike.org

-for Vermont www.vtbikeped.org

-for New Hampshire www.tlaorg.org/pathways and www.bwanh.org

Global warming caused by cars, coal and nuclear power plants and other human sources results in more severe droughts, floods, blizzards, and heat waves. That's according to the new book Eaarth by Bill McKibben. He lives in Vermont. Time magazine said McKibben is "the planet's best green journalist."

Climate change is causing glaciers to melt, which in turn causes flooding of places where people live and grow food. Global warming makes it harder for many farmers in the Valley to grow food.

More information on the effects of climate change here in the Valley -- and what people are doing to combat it -- is at:

www.valleypost.org/2009/07/04/valley-farmers-hit-global-warming

Other ways to get around that are better than single occupancy vehicles include Amtrak trains www.amtrak.com (stops in Springfield, Amherst, and Brattleboro; will soon begin stopping in Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield), Greyhound www.greyhound.com inter-city buses (stop in Holyoke, Keene and Greenfield and go to Amtrak stations in Brattleboro and Springfield), local buses www.pvta.com www.frta.org

www.brattleboro.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7BD216C53D-95CA-46C8-857...

www.keene.edu/campussafety/pdf/CityExpressSchedule.pdf

and carpooling:

www.commute.com

www.connectingcommuters.org

www.nh.gov/dot/programs/rideshare

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