This past Sunday morning, September 9, 2012, at approximately 5:35am, a Roxbury resident was killed in a car accident at the entrance of the O’Neill tunnel in Boston. What makes this incident more unusual than a typical vehicular tragedy is that the deceased man, Idefonos Barros, was driving down the wrong way of Interstate 95, and that this was the second incident of wrong-way driving on a Massachusetts highway just this weekend.
State Police are continuing their investigation as to what caused the three-way collision. Barros was driving a 1999 Dodge Dakota south on 93 North toward the O’Neill tunnel’s entrance when he collided into a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder, according to Renee Nadeau Algarin, the deputy press secretary for the Suffolk County’s District Attorney’s office. Algarin also stated that after the initial collision, the Nissan spun out of control and struck the left side barrier. Before the collision occurred, State Police received at least one phone call about a wrong-way driver and immediately launched a search for the vehicle.
Sadly, the police were too late to catch up with Barros. And during the time when reports of the incident were first surfacing, it was unknown whether Barros was ejected from his car because of the crash or if passing drivers helped him out of his vehicle. He was eventually taken to Tufts Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Firefighters removed a 45-year old woman from the Nissan Pathfinder. She was also taken to Tufts Medical Center though her injuries were not a threat to her life. Both drivers appeared to be wearing their seatbelts. There was no indication of drugs or alcohol playing a role in the crash. And the third driver whose Ford Eagle collided with the pile-up was fortunate enough to walk away without any injuries.
Just two days ago I wrote a blog about another wrong-way crash. Clarence Lux, 84, of New Britain Connecticut was driving east on a westbound lane when his 2001 Honda slammed into the 1993 Subaru of Robert Magee, a 28 year old corporal in the United States Marines. Sadly, both motorists were killed in the crash. The previous blog also mentioned recent studies looking into the occurrence of wrong-way drivers and what causes this phenomenon. The most prominent fact noted was that impaired drivers and the elderly are usually the most likely to be involved. One study showed that with elderly drivers, the reason may be as simple as a “Do Not Enter” sign being posted too high, well above a driver’s normal range of sight. But what defers between the two is their reaction. Once an elderly driver realizes that they are on the wrong side of the highway, they tend to pull over to the side of the road. But intoxicated motorists often proceed until a collision has occurred.
There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from wrong-way drivers. Wearing your seatbelt is the most obvious choice in increasing the chances of surviving an inevitable collision. Also, wrong-way drivers usually approach from the left side of the road, so pulling into the lane on the far right, or stopping on the shoulder altogether is also a smart defensive move. Stopping your car would also lessen the impact of an unavoidable crash. Also, activating headlights may help the wrong-way driver realize his or her error. As always, just do your best to stay safe. And if you, or anyone you may know, has any questions, concerns, or need for counsel concerning vehicular incidents, please don’t hesitate to contact Altman and Altman at your earliest convenience.