VALATIE— Well over 100 people came out on Sunday evening, June 20 for a candlelight vigil for Joan Archer, 77, a village resident and business owner who died after she was struck by an SUV in the crosswalk on Church Street June 14.
County sheriff deputies closed off Church Street for the event. Mourners filled the village street and the municipal parking lot adjacent Main Street.
About a dozen people spoke during the vigil. They included Kinderhook Town Supervisor Patsy Leader and Village of Valatie Mayor Frank Bevens, as well as members of Ms. Archer’s family, close friends and fellow village business owners. Several people mentioned the support they had received from Ms. Archer over the years. They talked about her humor, kindness and how involved she was in the village.
Ms. Archer, who owned JGA Antiques on Main Street, and other business owners had planned a successful Main Street June Fest in the village the weekend before she was killed. Lisa Hill, the owner of the Attic, a consignment shop next to Ms. Archer’s store, talked about that event and planning it with Ms. Archer.
Ms. Hill also said that she had “words about the street” and stressed that the state Department of Transportation needed to come to the village to fix the road so another person was not lost. “We lost one of our own and [that is] far too high a price to pay,” she said.
Ms. Hill also urged people to “speak up, speak out” about issues they see on the village roads. She said it was time to make it safer for cars and pedestrians.
The state owns and maintains Main Street. Church Street is a village street.
Ms. Archer was hit in the crosswalk at the intersection of Main and Church streets. The initial investigation indicates that a 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser operated by David L. Parlman, 26, of Chatham was eastbound on Main Street and made a left-hand turn onto Church Street. For unknown reasons, the Parlman vehicle struck Ms. Archer in the marked pedestrian crosswalk.
According to the State Police, at 12:18 p.m. June 14 troopers were waved down and alerted to the collision between a vehicle and pedestrian at the intersection. The Valatie Rescue Squad was dispatched to the scene by Columbia County 911 and took Ms. Archer to Albany Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. She later succumbed to those injuries. She was pronounced dead by the attending physician at Albany Med.
The investigation into the accident remains ongoing, according to the State Police.
At the vigil on Sunday, former village Trustee Amy Freinberg-Trufas said that the village has been trying to do something about the intersection of Church and Main streets for years. “This time we are going to have to make it stick,” she said to the crowd. Petitions were going around at the event to be sent to the DOT about the street.
Ms. Hill also said that Ms. Archer’s store will be open on the weekends through July 3. “Proceeds and/or donations may be made to help Joan’s husband, Joe,” according to the Attic’s Facebook page. There is also a GoFundMe page online which, as of Tuesday, has raised almost $7,000. According to the page, the people who started it, “are raising money to help with the mounting medical, funeral, and other expenses. Joan was the link to the outside world for her husband since he is unable to care for himself. This money will go towards his ongoing care.”
Ms. Archer’s obituary is on page 19 of this issue.
Main Street was recently repaved by the state and though parking site lines were replaced as well as some of the crosswalks, the double yellow line down the center of the street has not been put down. The village has one crosswalk on Main Street with flashing lights installed during the construction of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, which runs through the village.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email