Stratford, CT Firefighters Injured During Accident on I-95

Two fire rescue trucks were struck while responding to multiple accidents on I-95 near Stratford, Conn.  The trucks had just arrived on the scene of one accident and were parked in the center and left lanes when a semi-truck hit the first fire engine.  Soon after another tractor trailer hit the second fire truck.  Both trucks were struck on the right rear corner and according to Fire Marshal Brian Lampart the trucks were “totaled”.

Amazingly, the impact of the crash caused only minor injury.  Two firefighters were taken to a local hospital for treatment and all seven were released from duty and sent for evaluation.  The lack of serious injury is being attributed to the fact that the emergency workers had not yet left the trucks when the crash occurred.

An off-duty Westport firefighter sent radio transmissions to the on-scene firemen, alerting them of the two initial accidents and warning of icy road conditions.  Seven seconds after arriving on the scene the first fire engine was hit, followed shortly by news of the second fire engine being struck as well.

The personal injury and workers compensation attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren hope that the injured firefighters are well on their way to making a full recovery.


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Connecticut Tavern Settles Over 2008 Fatal Motorcycle Accident

Connecticut State’s Liquor Control Division has agreed on a punishment for John’s Mystic River Tavern.  The bar was accused of serving alcohol to an already intoxicated person after a man and his passenger left the bar on a motorcycle and were killed during a crash.

Stonington police reported the motorcyclists’ blood-alcohol level to be .14, well above the legal limit of .08.  Originally the state had set the fine at $10,000 with a 30-day liquor license suspension.  However, the bar made an counter-offer of a five day suspension and a $5000 fine to be paid over one year.

The state rejected the offer and made plans to begin a hearing.  However, the Cottrell Street bar made a new offer of a 15-day suspension and a $5000 fee to be paid over six months time.  The state accepted this offer.

This settlement has nothing to do with possible civil proceedings against the bar on behalf of the two people killed in the accident.  At the time of this report there was no word as to the possibility of a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the bar.


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Working Toward Zero Teen Deaths In Connecticut

In 2008 Connecticut adopted more stringent teen driver laws.  Many are attributing a ten year low teen driver fatality rate to the new regulations.  The recent tragic accident that took the lives of three teens brings the issue of teen driver and passenger safety to the forefront.  As we grieve we also turn our efforts toward preventing this type of accident from occurring ever again.  But how can we do this?

The new laws and regulations seem to be helping.  The laws include stricter penalties  for violations and immediate license revocation for driving under the influence and excess speed.  However, police and safety experts know that laws are not enough to bring the teen fatal car accident numbers to zero.  It is up to high schools, parents and law enforcement to help teenagers understand the consequences of their actions.

One school, Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge, has established a Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter.  One issue the group works to promote is teen driver safety.  With the use of speakers and educational programs the Woodbridge chapter hopes to keep the teen driver safety dialogue open.  Gary Lindgren is the groups advisor.

“Every two years, just before Homecoming, we have an assembly featuring MADD’s ‘The Hard Truth’, which is a program that provides the facts and consequences of drinking and driving.”

In addition, the school has implemented mandatory Brethalyzers for all events.  They also stage mock car crashes and have firefighters and EMT’s speak with students about what it’s like to be at crash sites caused by alcohol and drugs.

The staff and attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren would like to send our deepest condolences out to the families of those lost in the recent tragic accident.


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Hartford Man Apprehended in Connection to Deadly Hit and Run Accident

Nine months after a fatal hit and run accident in Hartford a suspect has been arrested.  In the early morning hours of March 27, Robert Suljoti, a 46-year-old man from Wethersfield, was on his way to work, crossing Retreat Avenue toward Hartford Hospital, when he was struck by a car.  The gray Acura was said to have been traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck Suljoti and drove away.  Later that day police found the car crashed into a fence on Maxim Road in the South End.  The accident killed Suljoti.  The driver was not immediately apprehended.

At the time, and for months after, police urged someone to come forward with information about the crash.  However, leads grew cold and though a man wanted for questioning was sought there were no arrests made in connection to the case.

Now, nearly a year later, a man has been taken in for questioning. Hartford police had been looking for the suspect and he was finally apprehended on outstanding arrest warrants from Windsor, Conn.  Though the accident is still under open investigation police hope that the apprehension of the suspect will put them one step closer to making an arrest.


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Connecticut’s Operation S.A.N.T.A. Strives for Zero Holiday Accidents

Holiday parties are a way for revelers to enjoy good company, good food and good drinks.  All of this is fine, as long as partygoers make a plan and choose a sober driver.  To help discourage drunk driving in Connecticut and catch those that drink and drive the state police have started Operation S.A.N.T.A.  (Stop Another Needless Tragic Accident).  This effort, known year round as the combined accident reduction effort, or C.A.R.E., involves state police from across the nation.

In Connecticut, police are stepping up DUI, distracted driving and seatbelt enforcement.  To do so officers will be performing DUI spot checks and will increase patrols across the state.  Drunk driving is not the only focus of this safety campaign.  Police will be keeping a sharp eye out for anyone not wearing a seatbelt or talking on their cell phone while driving.

Doctors in Emergency Departments at St. Mary’s in Waterbury and Yale New Haven Hospital are joining the police in stressing the dangers of drinking and driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

“We see too many vehicle accident victims in the ED.  Many are seriously injured.  Trauma/ED physicians do their best to heal these injuries.  Many injuries can be prevented with the simple use of seatbelts and the elimination of alcohol by drivers.”

The staff and attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren hope that you take this message to heart and spread the word that choosing a sober ride home is best gift you can give others this holiday season.  Choose a designated driver.  Arrive alive.


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Frosty Windshields Cause Too Many Accidents in Connecticut

Though everyone understands the morning rush to get out the door and on the road,Connecticut State Police are urging drivers to take the time to thoroughly clean their windshields.

“By law, one needs to have a windshield that’s free of obstruction.  Scratching out a small hole in the ice is a violation of the law,” Lt. J. Paul Vance said. “You need to have complete visibility of, ideally, 360 degrees.  You need to be able to see.”

This lesson was not lost on a Trumbull teen who struck a pedestrian while pulling over to clear his windshield.  The boy was driving on Scenic Hill Road when he struck a mother who was walking her son to school.  Police reported only minor injuries.

The driver was issued a ticket for reckless driving.  Though he claims to have scraped the windshield before leaving his home, Connecticut DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick warns that if the car is not warmed up the windows can re-freeze.

Other winter driving hazards include driving too fast for conditions and driving in slippery conditions without adequate treads on ones tires.  Turning on a cars lights whenever windshield wipers are in use is another way drivers can protect themselves from winter driving hazards.

The personal injury attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren hope that as we head into winter you heed police warnings and keep your windshield free of ice and snow.


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Drive Sober: Connecticut Police Begin Holiday DUI Checkpoints, Patrols

Celebrating the Thanksgiving Weekend with a toast or two does not bother Connecticut State Police.  However, doing so and then getting behind the wheel can land you in trouble with the police and even worse, can cause a serious accident.

Because of the increase in drunk driving over the Thanksgiving weekend the State Police will once again be participating in Operation CARE.  The national program gives state police a highway safety plan for dealing with drunk and aggressive drivers.  As part of Operation CARE both state and local police will be performing sobriety checkpoints and increased DUI patrols.

Though police hope that their efforts will decrease the number of drunk drivers on the road this year they know that accident and DUI prevention starts at home .  Police remind holiday travelers that state law requires motorists to slow and, if possible, move over when passing an emergency vehicle.  They also urge parents to speak with their children about the dangers of underage drinking.  Commissioner James Thomas echoes this message.

“Help us reduce accidents – drive with extra caution this Thanksgiving holiday,” he said. “As we do our part through enforcement, please do your part by driving safely.”

The accident attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren would like you encourage you to make the smart choice this holiday weekend- Find a sober ride home.


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Teen Drivers Receive National Attention

A new grant program has been presented to the U.S. House of Representatives.  The Students Taking Action for Road Safety Act of 2010 (STARS), if passed, will authorize $25 million a year from 2011 to 2015.  This money will fund programs that will help the safety of teen drivers and those they share the road with by:

  • Working with student-led groups from schools in Connecticut and nationwide to plan and implement teen safety programs.
  • Providing sub-grants to schools to establish and expand student groups.
  • Conducting outreach programs that work to inform parents as to how they can help prevent teen driving accidents.
  • Collaborating with law enforcement to increase awareness and the use of police led safety programs.
  • Organizing and hosting teen safety driver safety conferences on the state and national level.
  • Establishing partnerships and encouraging collaboration among teens and public, private and nonprofit entities.
  • Funding the position of a state and/or regional teen safety program coordinator.

In addition to the above programs and initiatives, $500,000 of the funds would go toward the establishment of a technical assistance center that would provide training to dedicated schools, student leaders and advisors across the nation.

The newly established Teen Driver Advisory Council would work on creating prevention strategies for reducing both injuries and fatalities involving teen drivers.

The attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren are glad to see that the issue of teen driver safety is being taken seriously.  We know that as personal injury attorneys we have seen too many teen drivers make mistakes that cause serious injury, even death.  Hopefully this act goes a long way to preventing teen driving accidents in Connecticut and across New England.


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Driver Cited After Accident With Connecticut Trooper

Emergency personnel are often in danger when they respond to accidents.  When weather conditions are poor, these dangers increase exponentially.  This week, a 25-year-old Belchertown woman slammed into the back of a Connecticut state trooper’s cruiser that has stopped to assist at the scene of an accident on an on-ramp to I-91.

The pavement was wet from recent fall rains and when the driver, Melissa Sullivan of Belchertown, Ct., saw the flashing lights she applied her brakes.  However, due to her sudden braking, excessive speed and the slickness of the road her car did not stop and instead hit the rear of Trooper Joseph E. Smigel Jr.’s cruiser.  Both vehicles were reported to have sustained minor damage.

After complaining of back and neck pain, Officer Smigel was transported to Middlesex Memorial Hospital in Middletown where his condition was evaluated.  Both the officer and the driver were wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.

Sullivan has been charged with driving too fast for conditions.

As we recently reported, excessive speed is responsible for a large portion of our nations traffic accidents and the related fatalities and injuries.  The staff and attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren hope that the officer is well on his way to making a full and complete recovery.


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“Best Bet” Booster Seats Keep Connecticut Kids Safe

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released their report on booster seat selection and safety.  Though many believe that booster seats are optional, just an extra child product to mess with, in the event of an accident the proper use of a booster seat for older children can mean the difference between life and death.

According to a 2009 study, children ages four to eight who ride in booster seats in the back seat are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than children wearing only seat belts.

Heeding calls to make booster seats easier to use and safer for children, car seat manufacturers have made strides in improving the quality of boosters.  While last year the IIHS only awarded their “Best Bet” award to nine of 60 seats, this year the number of top rated seats was much higher.  This year top marks were given to 21 of 72 booster seats.

Due to the fact that the seat aids in seatbelt placement and does not restrain the child the Institute doesn’t conduct crash tests.  Instead, they look at how well the booster aids in proper seat belt placement in most vehicles.

The following seats received the “Best Bet” award this year:

  • Britax Frontier 85
  • Chicco Keyfit Strada
  • Clek Oober
  • Cosco Juvenile Pronto
  • Cybex Solution X-Fit
  • Eddie Bauer Auto Booster
  • Evenflo Big Kid Arp
  • Evenflo Maestro
  • Graco TurboBooster Crawford
  • Harmony Baby Armor
  • Harmony Dreamtime
  • Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe
  • Harmony Youth Booster Seat
  • Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR
  • Recaro ProBOOSTER
  • Recaro ProSPORT
  • Recaro Vivo
  • Recaro Young Sport
  • Safety First Boost Air Protect
  • The First Years Pathway B570

The staff and attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz Kasheta & Bren hope that the above list helps you choose a seat that works well for your family.  The above seats represent nearly every price point and should go a long way to protecting your child in the event of an accident.   As personal injury attorneys we have seen too many accidents here in Connecticut end in serious injury for children who were not properly restrained.  To learn more about car seat selection, safety and state laws please click here.


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