Accident at blind intersection follows years of complaints
PROSPECT — For several years, the Santoro family of Porter Hill Road has complained to town officials about the sight-line problem at the intersection of their street and Straitsville Road.
Their worst fears were realized Saturday when the patriarch of the Santoro family died in a car accident at that very corner, apparently as he was checking for cars on Straitsville Road.
Carmen Michael Santoro, 84, of 9 Porter Hill Road, was driving a 2000 Ford Taurus out of Porter Hill Road and onto Straitsville Road when he was struck at 2:41 p.m. as he edged forward from a stop sign to look for traffic, according to a police report. The car was struck in its driver’s side by a 2012 Nissan Sentra driven by Robert Lister, 19, of 202 Straitsville Road, who was traveling south on Straitsville Road, the report states.
Santoro was taken by Campion Ambulance to Saint Mary’s Hospital, where he died from his injuries, the report states.
His son, Dave Santoro, a veteran part-time Prospect police officer, said he’s been talking to town officials for several years about the sight-line problems at the intersection. Town officials did nothing about it; they did not install a large mirror on a utility pole or a tree as Dave Santoro requested because officials feared vandals would break the mirror, he said.
“I believe if that mirror were put up, I’d have my father right now,” Dave Santoro said.
Dave Santoro’s mother, Dorothy M. Santoro, 83, was the front seat passenger. She was also taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital with what was listed as a possible injury that did not appear to be life threatening, the report states.
Lister was also taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital with what was listed as a possible injury that did not appear to be life threatening, according to the report. All three people involved in the accident were wearing their seat belts, according to the report.
The accident remains under investigation. As of Sunday, no citations were issued as a result of the accident. Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to call state police at (203) 393-4200.
Mayor Robert Chatfield said he’s received letters about the poor sight line. He noted that the town has rebuilt Straitsville Road and Porter Hill Road with stimulus grant money, but the sight line on the corner of the two sides has proved difficult to fix in large part because of a house on the corner that sits close to the road.
He also noted that the Planning and Zoning Commission denied a plan in 2012 to put a farmstand on the corner of the roads, in part because an accident and reconstruction analyst thought there was a poor sight line at that location.
Chatfield said Santoro was a nice man who worked as a bus aide for special needs children in the Region 16 school system, which oversees schools in Prospect and Beacon Falls. Every morning in the school year, Chatfield said, Santoro would go into Town Hall to chat with some employees.
“I send my sympathies to the Santoro family,” Chatfield said.
Dave Santoro said his father was a mellow man who lived in Prospect for more than 60 years. Carmen Santoro had four children, one of whom passed away last year, and several grandchildren.
Dave Santoro said he believes speed was a factor in the accident. Still, he believes the sight-line problem was a major factor, as well. He said the town has allowed flowers and weeds to overgrow onto town property, causing more of a sight-line issue.
“I want something done before it’s one of my kids,” he said, adding that he lives on Porter Hill Road, as well. “Every day I have to go to work past that stop sign where my father was killed. How can I ever get peace with that?”