Officer hit at school crossing

CHATHAM—Chatham Police Officer Thomas Lovett was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic at a school crossing crosswalk on Woodbridge Avenue in the village, May 11 at 7:50 a.m.

The vehicle, driven by Reyna Eisenstark, 45, of Chatham, was traveling south on Woodbridge Avenue when she attempted to make a left turn. She told deputies she did not see the police officer directing traffic.

Officer Lovett sustained injury to his hand from hitting the windshield and he complained of pain to his leg.

He was evaluated at the scene by the Chatham Rescue Squad, but was not taken to a hospital. Ms. Eisenstark was issued a ticket for failure to yield to a police officer directing traffic.

Officer Lovett subsequently returned to duty that day.

The Sheriff’s Office investigated.

The accident occurred three days after Chatham Mayor Tom Curran posted photos of that same intersection on Facebook and circulated them to village residents and the press with short narratives about the dangers at the site to both motorists and pedestrians.

Traffic backs up at the intersection when school opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon, and also before and after special events. The access road to the school, where the elementary and high schools are located, intersects Woodbridge Avenue only a few feet north of the CSX railroad crossing. Another village street, Hoffman, meets Woodbridge Street on the other side of the tracks.

Students who live in the south end of the village walk to school, some alone, some accompanied by parents. All of them have to cross the tracks to reach the schools, and that makes the flow of traffic there even more complex and potentially perilous, especially when trains are approaching and the crossing barriers drop.

In his email the mayor wrote that while the school driveway was suited to the 1960s, “… this design no longer functions, and the problem now seems to be a village and railroad problem.”

Mr. Curran went on to ask, “What are we going to do about it? I don’t want a fatality to be the cause of motivation.”

Parry Teasdale contributed to this story.




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