December 8, 2019

Connecticut Railroad Crossing Accidents

Two more people were killed, two seriously injured and hospitalized, at the same railroad crossing that has been the site of previous train collisions in Redding, Connecticut (CT). Tragically, protective gates have yet to be been installed.

The intersection on Long Ridge Road was described to reporters by by Dottie DeLuca, an area business owner, as “a treacherous intersection even without the tracks.”

Despite repeated accidents, the most recent in July, 2010, the state had not planned to install gates until 2014.

For 2 1/2 years Vito Ninivaggio, a Redding activist, has been keeping his eye on this hazardous crossing and has been campaigning for gates. When told that finally gates were to be installed–by April 2013– he told reporters, “I ‘m glad that it’s finally happening, but it didn’t have to take so long.” Indeed, in the wake of this fatal accident, DOT commissioner James Redeker assured reporters that there were plans to expedite the installation of gates to supplement the existing crossing lights and bells. A realignment of the road to correct the y-shaped intersection is scheduled to follow  in two years.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority currently is investigating  the circumstances of the most recent crash. Toxicology reports on the victims, 19-year old Joshua Perkins, the driver, and her 21-year old boyfriend, Wayne Balacky, are pending.

The Bridgeport railroad crossing accident attorney who represents the family of deceased Wayne Balacky told reporters that the installation of the gates would not forestall lawsuits against the railroad, DOT, and the town of Redding. “These protective gates were long overdue….I can’t say whether it was the sate’s fault, Metro-North’s fault, or the town’s fault. It’s probably a combination of all, but all will be put on notice and sued in a matter of weeks.”