Route 9 safety concerns rise following hit-and-run that hospitalized 13-year-old

Investigators told us that they have found the crosswalk along Route 9 in Hadley to be dangerous based on eyewitness information.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
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HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News is getting answers after a hit-and-run, which injured a 13-year-old last week in Hadley, caused many in the community to question the safety of the street’s crosswalk.

Investigators told us that they have found the crosswalk along Route 9 in Hadley to be dangerous based on eyewitness information.

“Every time I pass in the morning on my commute, there are a lot of people going quickly through there,” said Morgan Cantlin. “The red light goes on and people are slamming on their brakes.”

Cantlin lives in Hadley. She told us that the intersection with a crosswalk on Route 9 is causing concern for pedestrians and drivers.

She witnessed the hit-and-run crash last Tuesday when a white van hit a 13-year-old boy in the crosswalk and took off.

“I saw the kid fall on the ground and he was laying there, and people were getting out of their cars,” Cantlin recalled. “I saw what looked to be a white car going in the opposite direction pretty quickly.”

Western Mass News is getting answers. We asked the state’s Department of Transportation what they know about the crosswalk area and the hit-and-run. They sent us a statement saying, quote:

“MassDOT is aware of this unfortunate incident. The crosswalk was recently installed as part of a 2018 roadway improvement project. The crosswalk has a High Intensity Pedestrian Signal (HAWK) that is functioning.”

First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne with the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office is investigating the recent hit and run. He told Western Mass News that the placement of the warning signs could be causing drivers to miss their cue to stop.

“You’ve got two lanes, obviously, in both directions,” he said. “For vehicles, it’s kind of a high speed area, it shouldn’t be, but it just routinely is. I think it’s something about the lights being up, suspended over the street, as opposed to lower down. Maybe motorists are used to seeing traffic signals.”

The district attorney’s office told us Monday that the victim in the hit-and-run case is still in the hospital, but is now in stable condition. Meanwhile, investigators are still in search of the driver of the white van that hit him.