Public reminded to stay vigilant on roads after tragedies


On Saturday, May 26, a little after 10 a.m., 76-year-old Alfred Yergey III of Ocean View was riding his bicycle eastbound in the bike lane on Atlantic Avenue (Route 26), approaching Central Avenue in Ocean View.

At the same time, 65-year-old Jodi Silverman Bartow of Bethesda, Md., who was driving a 2018 Subaru Forester was in the left turn lane of westbound Atlantic Avenue, waiting to turn into a parking lot.

With heavy traffic due to the holiday weekend, the Ocean View Police Department reported, eastbound vehicle traffic was stop-and-go.

While Barstow was waiting to turn, a pickup truck in the eastbound lane of Atlantic stopped to let Bartow make the turn into the parking lot. The Forester began turning but allegedly failed to yield the right-of-way to Yergey, causing a collision between the bicycle’s front tire and the Forester’s front-right bumper.

Police said Bartow’s vehicle came to a stop upon impact with the bicycle, and that Barstow did not sustain any injuries. Neither alcohol nor unsafe speed were considered a factor in the incident, according to police.

“This was one of those incidents where traffic had stopped,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. “The driver was waved through, yet we still had a collision

“It’s difficult to see without a doubt. The cars themselves created a blind spot, so the driver was unable to see the bicyclist and, subsequently, the bicyclist was unable to see the car.

Yergey was flown by Delaware State Police helicopter to Christiana Hospital, where he later passed away. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, police noted.

As of Coastal Point’s Wednesday press deadline, no charges had been filed against Bartow.

“Whenever we have a fatal crash like this, there’s a lot of information that needs to be collected and looked out before a decision is made whether or not to prosecute,” said McLaughlin.

“We’ll have a face-to-face meeting with a representative from the Attorney General’s Office, and we’ll review all the information with them, and they make the determination as to whether or not to proceed with any charges.”

McLaughlin said it is “extremely dangerous” to travel on the roadways in the summer months at peak traffic hours.

“I think there’s got to be a hyper sense of awareness on everyone’s part,” he said. “The congestion is so great down here, I would encourage people maybe to avoid going out during those busy time periods. Our roadways really aren’t designed for that type of traffic.”

McLaughlin said drivers should be aware of bicyclists, especially due to the large influx of international students in the summer months whose sole mode of transportation is bicycles.

Mopeds and motorcycles are also a concern, said McLaughlin, citing the fatal motorcycle accident in Ocean City, Md., that also occurred on May 26.

 

Pedestrian killed after stepping into traffic

 

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit this week was also investigating a fatal motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian.

Police said the incident occurred around 12:31 a.m. on Friday, May 25, on Route 1 (Coastal Highway) northbound, at the intersection of Keybox Road, south of Dewey Beach. They said a 2012 Hyundai Accent, being driven by a 56-year-old Lewes man was traveling northbound on Route 1, in the right lane, approaching the intersection of Keybox Road.

At that time, police said, Peter M. Rudnicki, 22, of Bethesda, Md., was walking southbound along the northbound shoulder of Route 1, in the area of the intersection. For unknown reasons, they said, Rudnicki entered into the northbound travel lane of Route 1, directly into the path of the vehicle.

According to police, the driver of the Hyundai Accent was unable to avoid Rudnicki and struck him with the right front bumper within the right travel lane. After the collision, Rudnicki came to rest on the northbound shoulder of Route 1, they said, while the vehicle continued northbound for a short distance before coming to a controlled stop on the northbound shoulder of Route 1 north of Rudnicki.

Police noted that the roadway was dark and that Rudnicki was not in a marked crosswalk or carrying a light at the time of the collision. Rudnicki was pronounced dead at the scene by responding EMS. Alcohol and unsafe speed were deemed not to have been factors on behalf of the driver, police said, but alcohol did appear to be a contributing factor on behalf of the pedestrian, they noted.

The driver of the Hyundai Accent was properly restrained, they said, and sustained no injuries as a result of the crash.

The northbound lanes of Coastal Highway were closed between Dewey Beach and the Indian River Inlet Bridge for approximately four hours while the crash was investigated and cleared.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is being asked to contact MCpl. K. Argo at (302) 644-5020. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.

 

Minor injuries 

in Route 1 crash

 

Additionally, on Sunday, May 27, around 3:52 p.m., there was a two-vehicle crash on Coastal Highway that resulted in minor injuries. Police said a 2004 F-150 pickup truck operated by a 61-year-old Selbyville man had just made a U-turn from Coastal Highway northbound, to proceed southbound on Coastal Highway.

At the same time, they said, a 2012 Ford F-250 pickup operated by James I. Windle, 23, of Newark, was traveling southbound on Coastal Highway, allegedly at an apparent high rate of speed, and the F-250 struck the rear of the F-150, which police said had already established itself in the travel lane. The collision resulted in both vehicles overturning.

The operator of the F-150, who was properly restrained, was treated for minor injuries at Beebe Healthcare and was released.

Windle and his passenger, a 23-year-old woman, also from Newark, were both properly restrained, and were also treated for minor injuries at Beebe Healthcare and released.

Windle was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Following Too Close. He was released, pending a future court appearance.

The Delaware State Police urged motorists to follow some easy steps to help ensure safety on the roadways:

• Ensure all occupants are properly restrained.

• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.

• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.

• If you see a drunk or aggressive driver on the road, immediately contact 911 as soon as safely possible.

• If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Sometimes, however, as in Yergey’s case, accidents do happen, even if people are following all the rules of the road.

“He was doing absolutely everything right, yet he still ended up getting killed,” said McLaughlin. “He was a local resident of Ocean View — by all accounts a very good guy. He was active in the historical society and St. Martha’s church. We’re just asking everybody to keep him in their thoughts and prayers.”

By Maria Counts
Staff Reporter