The White Plains Examiner

Fatal Wrong-Way Crash Renews Traffic Safety Patrol Concerns

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The winter of 2014/15 will be remembered not only for intense cold and snow, but also for highway accidents that resulted in fatalities in one form or another.

Friday’s wrong-way accident on the Sprain Brook Parkway in which Hartsdale resident Paul Duncan, 46, was killed was not necessarily the result of weather-related conditions. Efren Moreano, the 20-year-old driver that struck him going northbound on the southbound side of the parkway just before 4 a.m. may have been driving while intoxicated. The results of blood tests have not yet been released by NYS Police investigating the crash. Moreano has been in a medically induced coma upon his arrival at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla after the crash. Marijuana was allegedly found in Moreano’s car.

Duncan was killed at the scene.

Later that same day, at about 10 p.m., there was a second wrong-way crash on Route 9A near Briarcliff where the offending driver was charged with DWI.

On November 3, 2014 a woman lost her life and her husband was severely injured during another early morning wrong-way crash in downtown White Plains that was the result of the offending driver operating his SUV while intoxicated.

And, while not alcohol-related it was an accident on the Taconic Parkway that pushed stop-and-go traffic onto side streets that resulted in the fatal train/car crash at a rail crossing in Valhalla only two weeks ago.

Highway safety is of paramount concern. The Sprain Brook Parkway has been the scene of many fatal crashes, some caused by wrong-way drivers in recent years.

On Friday morning Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner commented in an email that New York State had to improve signage (especially access to highways) and assign more officers so that parkways, especially the Sprain Brook could be adequately patrolled.

Feiner said he had received a call from an unnamed police officer, informing him that the State Police had only one car assigned to patrol the entire 20-mile stretch of the Sprain Brook Parkway on Thursday. The officer had attributed the lack of adequate patrol coverage to staffing that had been cut in half in recent years.

“I have written to state lawmakers suggesting that the state budget allocate more funds for police patrols on state parkways, thruways and highways. The Sprain Parkway has become a speedway with many cars speeding, going 70, 80 miles an hour,” Feiner said.

Duncan, an off-duty NYPD officer was killed when his SUV was struck by a 2013 Honda Civic. His car went over a guardrail and into a snow bank.

The ensuing traffic jam as commuters headed south on the Sprain during the morning rush hours ironically included Duncan’s wife Rechelle, who was stuck in the traffic while driving her 13-year-old daughter to school in NYC that morning.

Speaking to TV reporters on Friday, Mrs. Duncan said her husband was thoughtful, disciplined, funny, a sharp dresser, and a really good dad.

A wake for Paul Duncan, 46, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 Odell Clark Place, New York. A service will follow at 10 a.m.


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