Women injured in crash after being waved through turn by motorist trying to be polite

Posted April 18, 2012, at 12:05 p.m.
Last modified April 18, 2012, at 12:34 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A driver attempting to be nice stopped in traffic on Broadway Tuesday afternoon to let a local woman turn left onto Falvey Street, but what the driver didn’t know was that a third motorist was coming up from behind in the other lane.

That driver didn’t realize Agnes Whitaker, 91, of Bangor had been waved through and struck the passenger side of her 2000 Hyundai, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Wednesday.

Whitaker and her passenger, Nellie Closson, 88, address unknown, were bleeding when rescue crews arrived at around 3 p.m. Both were taken to a local hospital emergency room. Closson had a head injury and Whitaker complained of arm pain, Edwards said.

Robert Valente, 47, of Bangor — who was driving a 2008 Nissan sedan into town in the right lane when Whitaker turned in front of him and was struck — was not injured in the collision. Both drivers had green lights and both cars were damaged enough that they had to be towed away.

Similar accidents, in which a driver is trying to be polite and waves a car through, are common on busy roadways such as Broadway that have four lanes, Edwards noted.

“It does happen a lot on that street,” the sergeant said.

Drivers should not assume the coast is clear even if a driver waves them through a busy intersection, Edwards said.

That driver can’t see or is not watching for traffic in the other lane, he said.

“It just doesn’t work,” Edwards said. “Don’t do it.”

The conditions of the injured women not available Wednesday.

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