Legislator discusses road work zone safety after Westfield officer gets hit on duty
WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A Westfield police officer suffered serious injuries Tuesday morning after he was struck by a car while directing traffic in a road work zone. Now, a local legislator is weighing in on how work zones can be safer.
In the wake of Tuesday’s crash, State Senator John Velis called upon drivers to take more precautions as the start of road work season is now upon us.
Tuesday morning, road work on Western Avenue in Westfield turned dangerous for a police officer directing traffic when a car struck the officer, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Senator Velis. “I’m just hoping for a speedy recovery, and that any support that he needs, he gets.
Just over 10 years ago, 53-year-old Westfield police officer Jose Torres was killed in a work zone accident. Torres was also directing traffic around road crews when he was fatally hit by a dump truck.
We asked Senator Velis if there is anything being proposed in the state legislature to prevent crashes like these.
“You can have all the laws on the books, but people still need to follow them,” he told us. “There are laws on the books as far as construction zones and stuff like that and what you need to do.”
Now, Senator Velis is urging drivers to pay attention when entering busy work zones to make sure the drivers, road crews, and officers all get home safely. However, he added that he will continue to see how legislation can improve to make these work zones less dangerous.
“To me, it’s people who need to be mindful of where they are,” he told us. “That being said, if we discover, as part of this process, that there are certain gaps in the laws that need to be addressed, obviously, that’s something that we would take into consideration and file legislation. The preservation of human life and keeping people safe, I would argue, is the most important thing.”
The latest word from Westfield Police was that the officer is in stable condition after being taken to Baystate Medical Center. There has been no word from police about the driver who hit the officer.
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