Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, reports that three people have died in separate motor vehicle crashes on state highways so far this weekend – including one last night and two this morning. Two of the victims were operating motorcycles.
“The Labor Day holiday weekend historically is one of the deadliest in terms of motor vehicle crashes,” Colonel Assumpico said. “We are saddened to report the tragic loss of so many lives already this weekend. We strongly encourage motorists to use extra caution and to report anyone who may be driving in an unsafe or dangerous manner. We need to take care of each other to prevent further loss of life this weekend and in the future.”
The Rhode Island State Police is currently investigating the following fatalities:
Nicholas M. Winfield, age 26, of 571 West Greenville Road, Scituate died after the vehicle he was driving crashed and caught fire on Route 6 West, near the onramp for Interstate 295 South, in Johnston at approximately 11:10 a.m. this morning. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Raymond J. Atnip, age 31, of 32 Porter Terrace, Stoughton, died after losing control of his motorcycle on Interstate 95 South near Exit 27 in Pawtucket at approximately 10:30 a.m. The victim was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The investigations into those crashes are continuing. No other details will be released at this time.
As reported earlier today, a Providence resident died last night at approximately 10:45 p.m., while operating one of two motorcycles that collided with an SUV on Interstate 95 North while approaching the exit ramp for Interstate 295 in Warwick. The operator of the first motorcycle, identified as Dervi Pena, 34, of 85 Andrem St., Providence, was thrown from his motorcycle. He was transported to Kent Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The operator of the other motorcycle was transported to Kent Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. A third motorcycle crashed when the operator tried to avoid the collision. He also was taken to Kent Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“We strongly encourage all motorists to be extra vigilant when driving cars and motorcycles,” Colonel Assumpico said. “Buckle up – or wear a helmet if operating a motorcycle. Don’t speed. Don’t drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Don’t drive while distracted. Also, pay attention to other motorists on the roads to protect yourself.”
Colonel Assumpico noted that additional troopers have been assigned to patrol throughout the weekend. From 12:01 a.m. Thursday through 3 p.m. today, they have arrested 10 people for driving while intoxicated. They also have issued more than 200 citations including 153 speeding tickets; 60 seatbelt violations; and 11 violations of the state’s hands-free law prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones and other electronic devices. She encourages anyone who sees someone driving in an unsafe or dangerous manner to immediately call 911.
According to the state Department of Transportation’s Office on Highway Safety, as of this past Friday ** (August 31, 2018), there had been 35 motor vehicle fatalities in Rhode Island, including 17 occupants of motor vehicles; 13 people on motorcycles; 4 pedestrians and 1 bicyclist. Last year at this time, there were 58 motor vehicle fatalities, including 34 motor vehicle occupants; 7 motorcyclists; 15 pedestrians; and 2 bicyclists.
** These statistics do not include any of the fatalities reported so far this weekend.
In addition to these deaths, WJAR 10 is reporting that a 19 year old who was reportedly weaving in and out of traffic on his moped and crashed into a utility pole has died.