April 25, 2018
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Electronic sign doesn’t prevent motorcycle-car collision at Bangor intersection

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A woman operating a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was taken by ambulance to a local hospital after a collision Wednesday with a Honda Accord at the intersection of Third and Cedar streets, where an electronic radar system was installed to improve safety about a year ago.

“People just don’t pay attention on this street,” said Rita Cote, who lives near the crash scene, as two tow trucks removed the damaged vehicles from what is considered to be one of the more dangerous intersections in Bangor.

Cheryl A. Dunton, 48, of Carmel was driving the 1994 motorcycle up the hill on Cedar Street when she was stuck at about 8:44 a.m. by Carol Brooks, 57, of Orono, who was driving the 2012 Honda sedan and trying to cross the intersection, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said.

Brooks stopped on Third Street at the stop sign on the southern side of the intersection and waited for a car to pass, then proceeded forward toward Union Street, the sergeant said.

“She did not see the motorcycle coming up the hill,” Edwards said.

The Honda collided with Dunton’s motorcycle in the middle of the intersection. Shortly afterward, Dunton was taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where she was later listed in fair condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Brooks was given a ride home by a man in a truck and mouthed the words “thank you” to Cote and two other women who responded after hearing the crash.

“I was out on my porch,” Cote said. “[The motorcycle driver] was laying in the street with the car up on top of her. The lady’s leg was hanging right off the bone.”

Harold Emery and his 3-year-old son, Gavin, were in a house on the opposite side of Cedar Street when the collision occurred.

“Me and the little man heard a big bang. I said, ‘What was that?’ and ran outside,” he said, noting the compound fracture Dunton suffered was clearly visible.

He said he went over to comfort Dunton and was there when the EMTs removed her pant leg with scissors.

“It was her left leg, from her knee down,” Emery said.

The Maine Department of Transportation installed the $25,000 Intersection Crash Avoidance System in September 2012 after previous attempts to increase safety and decrease the frequency of accidents at the limited visibility intersection did little to reduce crashes.

“That intersection is crazy,” Edwards said Wednesday.

The system involves a digital readout on a screen mounted on a telephone pole, visible to motorists approaching the stop signs on Third Street. When cars travel up or down Cedar Street, digital outlines of cars light up on the screens — on one side for cars going down the hill and on the other for those coming up.

“It has had a long history of crashes and accidents,” Bangor City Engineer Art Morgan told the BDN when the device was installed. “That particular intersection has a high incidence level of crashes, primarily because of poor visibility and the slopes of Cedar Street.”

Edwards was unable to look up the number of collisions that have occurred at the intersection in recent years with the computer software the department uses. He said he believes the electronic radar system has lowered the number of crashes.

Even with the lighted sign, there is still an issue with the intersection, Emery said.

“That hill is very steep and you can’t see [who is driving up the hill],” he said.

Emery said his family moved into the apartment about a month prior, and this was the first collision he has noticed.


Merlin IDS: by nit, w/nit pic?

Merlin ID: 10998389

Merlin ID: 10998405

Merlin ID: 8538093

Correction: An earlier version of this story requires correction. The car involved in the crash was a Honda Accord, not Accent.

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