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West Hartford to form task force to investigate road safety after multiple fatal crashes

The task force will focus on traffic and pedestrian safety by studying, evaluating and improving the town’s road safety.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — West Hartford officials are creating a task force to investigate pedestrian and driver safety after a series of crashes – some fatal – in the town.

The most recent of the crashes occurred Christmas morning when three people - two adults and a 17-year-old - died in a two-vehicle crash around 6:50 a.m. near Timberwood Road.

“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the tragic loss of life, especially during this holiday season,” said Mayor Shari G. Cantor.  “The families and friends of those involved in today’s incident will be in our thoughts and prayers.”

The crash happened just days after a pedestrian was struck and killed in the area of Mohegan Drive on Dec. 21. The man, identified by authorities as 60-year-old Carlos Galarza, of Bridgeport, died from his injuries. The driver is cooperating with law enforcement, officials said.

A day earlier, an 89-year-old woman was killed in a hit-and-run on Boulevard. The driver has yet to be identified in that crash.

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Cantor said she has asked the town manager to convene the task force. An announcement with more details is expected this week.

The task force will focus on traffic and pedestrian safety by studying, evaluating and improving the town’s road safety.

“There are many factors that come into play involving motor vehicle collisions and especially motor vehicle and pedestrian collisions,” said West Hartford police Chief Vernon Riddick.  “The consequences of a crash between a 4,000-pound vehicle and a human being can result in death or serious physical injury.”

He urged drivers and pedestrians to avoid distractions on the roads, including cell phones and earphones, and to focus their attention on the road.

“Literally, lives depend upon it,” Riddick said.

All crashes remain under investigation.

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram


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