Over this past weekend there were three crashes which occurred on American Legion Highway in Westport leaving several injuries, some of which are severe.
According to Detective Sergeant Christopher Dunn, the first occurred at approximately 5:15 PM on Saturday in the area of Fieldstone Drive. A vehicle had stopped for a dog in the roadway and was struck from behind by a vehicle who reportedly did not see the stopped vehicle in the roadway. The elderly passenger of the stopped vehicle was evaluated at the scene after concerns of a head injury but ultimately did not want to be transported to a medical facility.
The second crash occurred at approximately 5:43 PM on Saturday while Westport Police and Westport Fire units were still attending to the previous crash. This accident occurred at the intersection of American Legion Highway and Route 88. A Ford F250 stopped in the eastbound lane to enter the on-ramp to Route 88 northbound and was struck in the rear by a flatbed truck. The Ford F250 was propelled forward into the westbound lane where it struck the driver’s side of a Toyota Sienna occupied by a husband and wife. The flatbed also crossed over into oncoming traffic and struck a Buick Lacrosse at the driver’s door. Witnesses reported the Buick Lacrosse was pushed off the roadway and onto the Route 88 northbound ramp from American Legion Highway westbound by the flatbed. The operator of that vehicle had become entrapped and had to be removed by fire department personnel with the jaws of life. Due to what investigators believe was excessive speed, the flatbed continued after it had struck both vehicles and came to rest in the center median at that location.
From the point of initial impact to the final resting place it was estimated the flatbed traveled just under 250 feet before stopping. The single occupant of the Buick Lacrosse and the passenger of the Toyota Sienna were transported to Charlton Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. Both the operator and juvenile passenger of the Ford F250 were transported to Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital respectively with severe injuries. Although the flatbed suffered extensive damage to the front of the vehicle, the operator was unharmed in the crash.
Due to the extensive nature of the crash with multiple individuals needing medical attention, mutual aid was provided by both the Fall River Fire Department and the Tiverton Fire Department.
The third accident occurred on Sunday at approximately 4:20 PM. Friends, while traveling in separate cars to their destination, were following one another onto American Legion Highway from the Route 88 southbound off-ramp. The lead vehicle stopped to check for traffic when the following vehicle struck it from behind. No injuries were reported.
The Westport Police Department would like to remind everyone of the dangers of distracted driving. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association “driver distraction, including handheld device use such as texting and driving, is a contributing factor in many crashes. In 2017, distracted driving was reported in crashes that killed 3,166 people (8.5% of all fatalities). The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security released a video specifically geared at educating the public of this danger. (https://youtu.be/8EHKcScFnsI via @YouTube) Everyone is busy and on the move. Getting to our destinations safely should be of the utmost importance. There are many things you can do to prevent yourself from being distracted while driving. The easiest would be to put your phone away and let family and friends know you will contact them once you have reached your destination. A few seemingly quick seconds on the phone could cost someone their life.