Nicolls Road motorcycle accident claims one life

(BRIANA FINNERAN/THE STATESMAN)

Nicolls Road was blocked off between the main and south entrances due to a motorcycle accident that claimed the life of a 32-year-old male. Nicolls Road was not reopened until approximately 11:15 p.m. (BRIANA FINNERAN/THE STATESMAN)

University Police officials blocked off Nicolls Road between the main and south entrances of campus on Friday evening due to a motorcycle accident that claimed the life of a 32-year-old male.

According to Assistant Chief of Police Eric Olsen, the Suffolk County Police Department called UPD at approximately 6:10 p.m. and asked for assistance in all northbound road closures and in diverting traffic through Health Sciences Drive. Nicolls Road was later reopened at approximately 11:15 p.m.

Upon arrival, it was determined that two motorcyclists were traveling northbound when one of the operators lost control of his motorcycle, hitting the center guardrail causing multiple injuries,” Olsen said in an email. 

The victim was then transported to the Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Olsen said the victim had no known affiliation with the university.

The Suffolk County Police Department Accident Investigations Unit will look into the case to determine the factors that contributed to the accident.

 

Police blotter for Feb. 24-March 6

Theft:

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, a cell phone was reported stolen from West Side Dining.
On Monday, March 4, there was a report of a stolen SBU ID card. The report was unfounded.
On Tuesday, March 5, maintenance equipment was reported stolen from the Staller Center for the Arts.

Miscellaneous:

On Tuesday, March 5, there was an accident leaving the scene at the Student Union.

Marijuana and Alcohol Violations:

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, an RA reported students smoking marijuana at James College. The report was unfounded.
On Friday, Feb. 28, one student was referred to the university for smoking marijuana in their room.
On Friday, Feb. 28, police responded to a report that there was the smell of marijuana at Langmuir College. The report was unfounded.
On Sunday, March 2, an intoxicated male was issued a closed student referral at Baruch College. Another intoxicated male student was transported to the emergency room and referred to the university from West Side Dining.
On Monday, March 3, police responded to a report that there was a marijuana odor at Gray College. Upon inspection, the report was unfounded.
On Monday, March 3, there was the smell of marijuana at James College. Police patrolled the area and the report was unfounded.
On Monday, March 3, an RA reported that two students were smoking marijuana at Mount College. Upon inspection, this was unfounded.
On Tuesday, March 4, there was a report of the mall of marijuana at Benedict College. The report was unfounded.
On Monday, March 4, there was a report of marijuana at James College. The report was unfounded.
On Thursday, March 6, an RA reported the smell of marijuana at Greeley College. One student was referred to the university.
On Thursday, March 6, an RA reported marijuana at Dreiser College. The area was patrolled and the case was unfounded.

Police blotter for the week of Monday, Feb. 17

Harassment:

On Monday, Feb. 17, there was harassment at Sanger College.
On Monday, Feb. 17, there was aggravated harassment at Humanities.
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, there was harassment at the Long Island State Veterans Home (LISVH).
On Saturday, Feb. 22, there was harassment at the University Hospital.
On Sunday, Feb. 23, there was harassment at Wagner College.

Theft:

On Monday, Feb. 17, there was a burglary at West Side Dining.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, there was a larceny at Nassau Hall.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, there was a larceny at the Ambulatory Care Pavilion.
On Friday, Feb. 21, money was reported stolen from a nightstand drawer at the LISVH.

Marijuana:

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, there was marijuana at Schick College. One student was referred to the university.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, two students were referred to the university for marijuana at West Apartments D.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, an RA at Benedict College reported to police there was marijuana smoking in a dorm room. One student was referred to the university.

Miscellaneous:

On Monday, Feb. 17, there was an accident leaving the scene at Whitman College.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, there was criminal mischief at the LISVH.

Editorial: Pedestrian safety needs to be taken seriously

11.11.07-Traffic-Max. Wei

Some sections of Circle Road can even be busy at night. (THE STATESMAN STOCK PHOTO)

Walking around campus should not make students question their safety.

The past two semesters have brought to light a common concern for every Stony Brook University student: pedestrian safety. Whether one is commuting from home or living in the dorms, every student walks around campus to get to class, a club meeting or lunch with friends.

When walking to class, students should not have to ask themselves if the car coming toward them will stop when they cross the street.

On a typical day, it is common to spot a car treating a stop sign as a yield sign or a pedestrian who did not even look up from his or her phone before crossing the street. Cyclists and longboarders breeze through intersections without slowing.

Every time this happens, it perpetuates the attitude that the safety at intersections is someone else’s responsibility—that everyone waiting for their turn to cross must immediately stop because a cyclist, driver or longboarder decided he or she is too important to slow down and look both ways.

This needs to stop. We need to end accidents that might have been prevented if people took a few more seconds to make sure the intersection was clear. We need to stop putting people in the hospital because we are in too much of a rush to actually stop at a stop sign.

It is a driver’s responsibility to be aware of his or her surroundings on the road. By passing a road test, it is assumed that a driver can be trusted to follow the rules of the road and drive safely. A violation of those rules can be something as simple as blasting music too loudly or checking a text. Drivers should not be putting themselves into a situation where they are not fully attentive to what is happening while on the road; otherwise, they risk hurting other people.

The intersections on campus are busy and unsafe. Maybe at one time, stop signs and minimal streetlamps were sufficient. But as the student population grows, there are more people crossing intersections more frequently at all times of the day. Until the administration decides that a greater effort is required to make the roadways on campus safe, we are on our own to safely get to where we are headed.

The university’s media relations office responds with some PR move or another after every accident, but no department does anything to actually alleviate the problem. After a police vehicle drove over a lane of traffic and struck Brianna Bifone as she walked on the sidewalk last semester, the university handed out free safety vests. Would she have been able to avoid the car if she wore the vest? No.

If Stony Brook University wants to prevent accidents, it needs to spend resources on the known trouble areas of campus.

One of the most troublesome regions on campus for both drivers and pedestrians is the intersection of West Drive and Circle Road. During rush hour, drivers roll past the stop signs to speed past the pedestrians and other drivers, else they might be stuck there for an extended period of time. Concurrently, pedestrians cross without care, as the cars are forced to wait for all to pass before being able to get past the intersection. A different system needs to be implemented to prevent an over-anxious driver from causing an accident.

Drivers need to stop at stop signs before continuing to drive. Pedestrians need to look up from their phones to check the street as they walk. No one can assume that everyone is going to stop for them or that they can even be seen. Everyone needs to take time to be aware of what is going on. We will all be better for it.

Sincerely-

The Editorial Board

SBU police officer strikes pedestrian with patrol car

A Stony Brook Police Department cruiser is removed from a ditch near the Tabler Residence Quad after an officer struck a female student on the sidewalk. (ANUSHA MOOKERJEE / THE STATESMAN)

A Stony Brook Police Department cruiser is removed from a ditch near the Tabler Residence Quad after an officer struck a female student on the sidewalk. (ANUSHA MOOKERJEE / THE STATESMAN)

A University Police car struck Stony Brook student Brianna Bifone on the sidewalk near the Tabler West Bus Stop on Circle Road at 10:12 p.m. on Thursday while responding to an emergency call, according to multiple sources close to the situation.

The car continued into an embankment, pinning Bifone beneath the rear of the vehicle.

“According to eyewitness reports, the responding vehicle was traveling with its emergency lights activated when it struck a sidewalk which caused it to veer onto the opposite walkway, subsequently striking the student pedestrian,” Chief of Police Robert Lenahan said in a statement.

Daniel Wolbrom, chief of Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SBVAC), said Bifone’s legs were pinned beneath the car for about 30 minutes before she was extricated and moved to an ambulance.

Both Bifone and the police officer were taken to Stony Brook University Hospital for evaluation.

Bifone is reported to be in fair condition, while the police officer, who sustained minor injuries, was treated and released from the hospital, Lenahan said.

The identity of the police officer has yet to be released.

The police officer was responding to a call regarding a “large group” at the Student Union when he struck the student, Assistant Chief of Police Lawrence Zacarese said.

The accident is currently under investigation, but Zacarese said there was no reason to believe the police officer was under the influence at the time of the incident.

The police officer radioed for assistance and emergency vehicles from University Police, Stony Brook Fire Department, Setauket Fire Department, SBVAC and Suffolk County Police Department arrived on the scene.

Check back for updates to the story.