St. George gives OK to road safety improvements in wake of last year’s fatal crash

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, at 5:24 p.m.

ST. GEORGE, Maine — The town has agreed to undertake traffic safety improvements in the Port Clyde village where a crash last summer claimed the life of a young boy.

The recommendations — which include new signs, striping to mark the road and striping for pedestrian crosswalks — will be easy to implement, Town Manager John Falla said Tuesday.

The select board voted 4-0 at its Jan. 13 meeting to proceed with the recommendations of the Road Safety Committee, which was created Sept. 30 in the wake of the Aug. 11 crash that claimed the life of 9-year-old Dylan Gold of Cohasset, Mass., and injured his 6-year-old brother Wyatt Gold, their mother Allison Gold and Jonathan Coggeshall of Port Clyde.

During the road safety committee’s tour of the crash site in October, participants discussed many of the recommendations they ended up making. At the time, however, they also said they doubted whether any of those recommendations could have prevented the fatal crash.

Cheryl Lynn Torgerson, 61, of New York City was driving her 2007 Infiniti G35 to catch the Monhegan ferry on the afternoon of Aug. 11, when witnesses reported to police that her car came speeding down the hill leading to the center of the village and the wharf.

When Torgerson’s vehicle accelerated at the wharf, it struck one car and then pedestrian Coggeshall. The car continued on, crashing into a building and careening along the wharf, striking six more vehicles and hitting the Gold family members, who were on vacation and waiting to get on the ferry.

Torgerson, who was not injured, told officers on the day of the accident that she could not recall what had happened. An investigation into the crash failed to find any problems with the vehicle.

A final report on the completed investigation has been turned over to the district attorney, who has yet to announce whether charges will be filed against Torgerson.

The changes recommended by the Road Safety Committee and approved by the select board include some that can be done solely by the town and others that will require cooperation with the Maine Department of Transportation and local property owners.

The town will paint crosswalks across Factory Road and from Factory Road to the ice cream shop and adjoining businesses.

The town also has requested that the Department of Transportation extend both the centerline and road edge striping for Route 131 around the corner past the Monhegan Ferry property and ending at the adjacent Cold Storage Road. The Department of Transportation also is being asked to place signs alerting motorists about the approaching village and pedestrian crossings.

Community officials will work with the Department of Transportation and local property owners on building a sidewalk from Factory Road to the ferry landing.

St. George officials will ask the ferry company to help control the flow of traffic onto its lot.

Falla said the town work is expected to be done this year, and the Department of Transportation expects to be able to do its share this year as well. Department of Transportation traffic engineer David Allen attended meetings of the committee and worked with the members on its recommendations.

 

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