Woman dies in Route 7 crash

Col­li­sion sends dump truck, driver into Housatonic River

The News-Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Ken­dra Baker and Ju­lia Perkins

NEW MIL­FORD — Po­lice Tues­day were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause of the morn­ing crash on Route 7 that left a woman dead, a man in­jured and a truck par­tially sub­merged in the Housatonic River.

The crash killed Christina Wal­ters, 24, of Kent, and in­jured Jeff Griener, 59, of Poughquag, N.Y., po­lice said. Griener’s in­juries are not con­sid­ered lifethreat­en­ing, po­lice said.

The accident oc­curred around 9 a.m. when a car and a dump truck col­lided near the in­ter­sec­tion of Kent and Cedar Hill roads, send­ing the truck down an em­bank­ment into the river.

New Mil­ford fire­fight­ers, po­lice and one ambu

lance were among the first to re­spond. Kent Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment was re­quested soon af­ter for wa­ter res­cue, and a sec­ond am­bu­lance was dis­patched.

Wal­ters, the driver of the sedan, was killed, and Griener, who drove the dump truck, was trans­ported to Dan­bury Hos­pi­tal, New Mil­ford Po­lice Lt. Larry Ash said. The driv­ers were the only peo­ple in the ve­hi­cles, Ash said.

Ash did not know the ex­tent of the truck driver’s in­juries, but said he was conscious and alert be­fore be­ing taken to the hos­pi­tal. He es­caped the ve­hi­cle while it was in the wa­ter and waded to shore, Ash said.

Po­lice are still look­ing into how the two ve­hi­cles crashed.

“Un­til we get a lit­tle deeper into the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, there re­ally isn’t much to re­lease right now,” Ash said.

First re­spon­ders were met by the state De­part­ment of En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, which was called be­cause fuel

from the truck was spilling into the river, Ash said.

Fire de­part­ment, po­lice and DEEP of­fi­cials re­mained on scene hours af­ter the crash, and driv­ers were urged to stay away from the area.

The crash closed a sec­tion of Route 7 for more than seven hours Tues­day, with of­fi­cers de­tour­ing traf­fic.

Mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents aren’t new to this sec­tion of Route 7.

Just last month, emer­gency per­son­nel re­sponded to a head-on col­li­sion at the Kent and Cedar Hill roads in­ter­sec­tion, where fire­fight­ers took about 15 min­utes to ex­tri­cate an in­jured per­son from a ve­hi­cle.

In 2016, 28-year-old Stephanie Tozzi died af­ter her Nis­san Sen­tra went off Kent Road, strik­ing a tree near the Squash Hol­low Road in­ter­sec­tion. Her 4-year-old daugh­ter was in the car at the time and was se­ri­ously in­jured. Tozzi was the daugh­ter of a New Mil­ford po­lice of­fi­cer.

Mayor Pete Bass said the town’s Pub­lic Works De­part­ment staff has reached out to the state De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion for the crash his­tory on that stretch of road.

“I want to see the his­tory,” he said.

The town can ask the state to make im­prove­ments to the area but since it’s a state road, those decisions will ul­ti­mately be up to the DOT. That sec­tion of road has curves and changes in el­e­va­tion. It is also bor­dered by posts with metal wires along the side of the road along the Housatonic River, rather than a tra­di­tional guardrail.

“My pray­ers go out to the young per­son that passed away and their fam­ily and the driver who was in the truck,” Bass said. “I hope he makes a quick re­cov­ery.”

Ken­dra Baker / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

A driver was killed and an­other was in­jured on Tues­day in a crash that sent a dump truck into the Housatonic River in New Mil­ford.

Ken­dra Baker / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

A driver was killed and an­other was in­jured on Tues­day morn­ing in a crash that sent a dump truck into the Housatonic River in New Mil­ford.

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