“There was a horrific accident last month where two teenagers died, and I was there,” said Barbara Carroll Quaranto of Saran Drive during public comments at the Town Council meeting this week. Quaranto would like to change the type of stop light at Bishop Hill Road and Route 6 to make the intersection safer for motorists.
Dylan Laurenzo, 18, of Johnston and Taylor Reilly, 18, of Coventry died from injuries sustained in a car crash and fire on December 13 after the vehicle they were traveling in struck a car in the intersection, then a gas pump at the Sunoco station at the corner of Bishop Hill and Route 6.
Zachary Albanese, age 19, of 20 Moswansicut Drive, Johnston, who was driving the vehicle in which Laurenzo and Reilly were passengers, and Peter Lawrence, age 26, of 123 Bungy Road, Scituate, were arrested on January 17 on two counts of driving to endanger, death resulting, and street racing. The arrests were the result of an investigation of the accident that involved multiple vehicles. Just prior to the collision, Albanese and Lawrence were allegedly engaged in a high-speed street race and Albanese allegedly struck a third vehicle that was attempting to make a left turn onto Bishop Hill Road from Route 6 West. Albanese subsequently lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway, and spun into the parking lot of the Sunoco gas station, where it then struck an unoccupied Honda SUV that was parked in front of a gas pump. The vehicle then rotated across the parking lot and re-entered Route 6 West, where it came to a final rest.
Albanese and Lawrence were both arraigned at the Rhode Island State Police Headquarters before Justice of the Peace Matthew Dawson and released on $10,000 personal recognizance. They are scheduled to appear at Third Division District Court on January 20, 2017 for a re-arraignment hearing.
Since the accident, neighborhood residents have voiced concerns about safety at the intersection. Quaranto said that when motorists get to that intersection, “on the opposite side, Rte. 6 east, there is a crest of the hill. There’s only five seconds between the crest of the hill and the light for the person making that decision to turn left, there’s not enough time.
She said she understands that Route 6 is a state road and has contacted the Department of Transportation (DOT), but wants “to go through both the town and the state” in order to make the intersection safer for motorists.
Quaranto says she’s sent emails and called the DOT and was at the council meeting to request that a member of the council help her with her efforts. Council President Anthony Verardo advised that the council could not take any action on the matter that evening because she spoke during public comments. However, he called the issue “extremely important” and suggested that Councilman Robert Civetti, who represents the area, may be able to assist her.
Several residents of the Bishop Hill Road neighborhood in attendance agreed that the current light is a safety concern and that something needs to be done.
“I’ll work with you and we can reach out to other representatives,” said Civetti.