Woodstock Fire Chief L.D. Sutherland, Jr. has contacted Woodstock Early Bird to say he and Hartford Fire Chief Steve Locke are fed up with the number of deaths on Route 4 and after 15 years of continued trauma, both to victims, families, friends and responders, they want to do something to increase safety on this well-travelled, but clearly dangerous Vermont State Highway.
Following the recent death of Patience Hutt in an accident involving a horse trailer near Fool on the Hill and a double fatal near the Fat Hat Factory on Route 4 — all within the past couple of months — the two neighboring Fire Chiefs have been talking about the horrible impact these accidents have on families, responders and the community in general.
Sutherland says he and Locke are going to do everything they can to get the State of Vermont to construct rumble strips on the center line of Rt. 4. This would hopefully assist drivers stay within their lanes. Sutherland says it doesn’t matter whose fault or what causes it, so-called “distracted driving”, “but people do drift”. The drifting simply results in head-on collisions on the windy road that skirts the Ottauquechee River– at a cost to Woodstock and Hartford both financially to the taxpayers and psychologically to their volunteer and professional responders — Ambulance AND fire rescue crews tasked with pulling people, equipment and debris off this main thoroughfare between New Hampshire, Rutland and New York State.
Sutherland says he and Locke spend an inordinate amount of time making sure their fire personnel are safe and are not hurt while fighting fires or helping out at rescue scenes. Safety is in their professional natures. Now, they can’t help but want to extend their desire to prevent deaths on local highways via this rumble strip proposal.
Anyone else with them? The Fire Chiefs need you to contact the Vermont Transportation Agency and your local representatives to put a little pressure on them to help prevent future tragedies on what is “our” local road. We have learned that some States have cost benefit analyses of cost to fix roads versus number of deaths on those roads. We got some re-paving, now how about some safety measures? Is it worth ignoring at a cost of one more life?