Stamford police increase traffic enforcement in response to pedestrian accidents
Updated 4:08 pm, Thursday, February 8, 2018
STAMFORD — An eerie replay of a fatal pedestrian accident about four years ago downtown had a far less grave outcome this week, but has police stepping up traffic enforcement near crosswalks.
Sgt. Andrew Gallagher said a 31-year-old woman suffered minor injuries Tuesday afternoon after she was struck by a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe at the corner of Summer and Hoyt streets. Gallagher, who supervises the police department’s Traffic Unit, said the driver was traveling south on Summer and turned left onto Hoyt, striking the woman in the crosswalk.
The woman was treated and released from Stamford Hospital. The Stamford driver, Ricardo Pilco-Yambay, 29, of Willard Terrace, was issued a ticket for failure to grant the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
The incident was similar to a fatal accident that occurred in July 2014 when 58-year-old Janice Pielert was struck and killed by a Chevy Tahoe at the same intersection. The driver was traveling southbound on Summer and turned onto Hoyt, pinning Pielert under the SUV. Pielert was found unconscious and died a short time later at Stamford Hospital.
The driver, Norwalk resident Natalie Gainer, avoided jail by entering a program for first-time offenders after a jury could not reach a verdict on the charge of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.
Pedestrian and car accident fatalities have consistently outnumbered homicides in Stamford in recent years.
Fatal car/pedestrian accidents
For several years, fatalities of pedestrian and occupants in car crashes have far outnumbered homicides in Stamford.
”Both motorists and pedestrians have to respect each other and keep an eye out for the other,” Gallagher said.
Lynette Wagner, a 58-year-old Fairfield resident, was this year’s first pedestrian fatality after she was struck on Jan. 2 at the corner of Elm and North State streets.
Last weekend, 69-year old Stamford resident Benita Muralles was seriously injured when she was hit in the crosswalk at the corner of Grove and Main streets. Muralles remains in the hospital with a shattered pelvis.
Police have increased enforcement downtown aimed at drivers not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Capt. Diedrich Hohn, who supervises patrol officers downtown, said his team is making it a priority to improve safety for pedestrians, especially the disabled, elderly and children.
Hohn said officers have written seven tickets — each costing $240 — to drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks this week.
”I intend to have my officers strictly enforce vehicles that encroach into the crosswalks in a dangerous manner," Hohn said.