PROSPECT — More than a month after an accident claimed the life of 84-year-old Carmen Michael Santoro, it appears that nothing has been done to make the intersection of Porter Hill and Straitsville roads less hazardous.
State police are investigating the accident, which occurred on the afternoon of July 26. State Trooper Kelly Grant said the investigation should be completed by the end of the calendar year, but nothing is definite.
Santoro’s family had complained to the town about the intersection before the accident, saying that sight lines were poor and that a stop sign should be erected to stop southbound traffic on Straitsville Road.
There is a stop sign for cars pulling out of Porter Hill Road and onto Straitsville Road. However, a poor sight line for these drivers has proved to be deadly.
A house on the corner sits close to Straitsville Road and falls directly in the line of sight for motorists coming off Porter Hill Road. Santoro’s vehicle was struck by a car traveling south on Straitsville Road when he edged out to look for traffic.
Mayor Robert Chatfield said in July that although the town has rebuilt Straitsville Road and Porter Hill Road with stimulus grant money, the sight line on the corner of the two streets has been difficult to fix, mostly because of the house on the corner.
David Santoro Sr., Carmen’s son and a veteran part-time Prospect police officer, wrote to Chatfield in 2012, hoping to have something done about the street.
“If an accident were to occur at this location, the contributing factor would be line of sight,” he wrote. “Mayor Bob, my parents live on Porter Hill Road and are both in their 80s. They have lived in this area for over 45 years. I would like to keep them around a lot longer, but I am worried for their safety each day and after three years of complaining about this area, a dangerous situation still exists.”
Chatfield said after the accident that the town did not want to put up a stop sign for drivers on Straitsville Road because the state had removed similar signs in other towns.
However, Kevin Nursick, state Department of Transportation spokesman, said the DOT does not have jurisdiction over municipal roads. Nursick said all traffic issues would be handled at the local level by the local traffic authority.
Chatfield himself is the official traffic authority for the town of Prospect, according to the Office of State Traffic Administration.
Last week, Chatfield said he had been advised by a town attorney not to talk about the situation. The Santoro family declined to comment about their next steps in the wake of the accident.