April 20, 2004

Cars Collide on West

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A light brown Toyota Camry hit a red Environmental Health and Safety vehicle on the intersection of West Avenue and Campus Road at around 5:55 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

The sedan, which carried six unidentified students, was driving up Campus Road and did not yield to the red vehicle which came down the street from the opposite direction according to Ithaca Police Department officer Jack Nelson. Nelson said that the student driver did not notice the oncoming EHS car, and crashed into it while turning left onto West Avenue.

Besides sustaining bumps and bruises, none of the students were seriously injured. All declined to comment. The driver of the EHS vehicle was also not injured.

Police response was almost instantaneous because Cornell University Police Department squad cars were positioned yards away on West Avenue in front of Baker flagpole, pulling over random cars and checking for seatbelt use as part of the “Click It or Ticket” initiative which started yesterday. Nelson said that two students in the back seat of the Camry were not wearing seatbelts.

Although New York State law states individuals over 16 years of age are not required to wear seatbelts, Nelson said that the students in the car were lucky not to be injured.

“It’s terrible when people refuse to [use] the belt,” said Sgt. Chuck Howard, traffic enforcement coordinator for the CUPD. “You wonder how some people get their license.”

The driver received two tickets according to Linda Grace-Kobas, director of Cornell News Service. Grace-Kobas said that she was not aware of what the charges might be, because the accident is being investigated by the IPD. She speculated, however, that the fines were given for failure to yield to right of way and for an improper left turn. At the scene, Nelson said that tickets for non-seatbelt use could also be given since there were more passengers than there were seatbelts in the Toyota. A seatbelt fine could range from $50 – $200.

“If you look at statistics, people are crazy not to wear seatbelts,” Grace-Kobas said.

After the accident, traffic was diverted away from the intersection. At 6:20 p.m., the Camry was towed away and the area was later cleared as road conditions returned to normal.

Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor