Thursday, November 17, 2011

Greenwich Car Wash Worker Struck by SUV

A car wash worker was hospitalized with serious injuries Saturday afternoon after being struck by a sport utility vehicle leaving Splash Car Wash on West Putnam Avenue in Pemberwick.

The man's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, according to emergency responders at the scene of the crash at the 625 W. Putnam Ave. car wash.

The worker was standing near a Volvo S60 sedan and a Ford Explorer SUV, which were both parked after having left the car wash bays, at about 1:10 p.m. when a Lexus SUV apparently drove toward the man and the vehicles, a police officer at the scene said. The officer declined to identify himself.

The Lexus struck the car wash employee, sideswiped both vehicles and continued through the parking lot before coming to rest in the southbound lane of East Weaver Street.

A Splash worker, who noted that the woman at the wheel of the Lexus was driving fast, said the worker who was hit was fortunate to have escaped more serious injuries.

"He's a lucky guy; that lady was flying," Brian Sargeant said. "It was definitely unsettling. That could be any one of us."

Sargeant, who was on his lunch break when the crash occurred, said he immediately rushed to see if the Lexus driver was injured.

"I went over there to see if she was OK and she said she was stuck in gear," the 42-year-old said.

The woman, who wasn't identified by police, was taken to hospital to be checked.

Another person involved in the multi-vehicle collision was taken to hospital for observation. The person's involvement in the crash could not be determined.

Sargeant said that after he attended to the female driver, he saw his co-worker lying on the parking lot.

Police said the car wash worker suffered injuries to his right leg and the right side of his upper body. Sargeant said he also appeared to have a cut to his head.

The collision bent the front passenger door of the Volvo forward in the wrong direction, and there was significant damage to the right side of the Explorer. The front end of the Lexus was badly damaged and its airbags were deployed.

Greenwich Fire Department and Greenwich Emergency Medical Services personnel also responded to Splash Car Wash, which is next door to a Mobil gas station at the Greenwich Convenience Mart. The two businesses are at the intersection of East Weaver Street and West Putnam Avenue, about a half-mile from the New York State line.

About 20 Splash workers -- with nothing to do as police closed off the scene to motorists -- milled around the car wash during the accident cleanup and investigation, some of them taking photographs with their cellphones.

A couple of workers continued to work, with one man wiping down another parked vehicle while a worker cleaned up inside one of the bays.

Information on any charges stemming from the crash or the identities of the people involved were not available Saturday.

In a similar accident nine years ago at the same car wash, a 73-year-old Splash worker was struck by a Jeep that accelerated after leaving one of the wash bays. He later died from his injuries.

The man, a Port Chester, N.Y., resident, was struck and dragged by a 2002 Jeep driven by a 16-year-old Greenwich girl as the man stood near two cars that were parked at the car wash. The Jeep also collided with those two vehicles.

The worker died May 2, 2002, after spending about a week in the critical care unit at Stamford Hospital.

Staff writer Frank MacEachern can be reached at or 203-625-4434.

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Greenwich Woman Critically Injured in Crash

Right on North Street, by St. Mary's Cemetary and Sam Bridge Nursery..
How the hell would anyone surive that??

An elderly Greenwich woman was badly injured when the car she was driving slammed into an oncoming dump truck on North Street, closing a stretch between Clapboard Ridge and Doubling roads for several hours Monday afternoon, police said.

The woman, who was not identified, was taken to Greenwich Hospital in critical condition, police said.

The woman was driving a Lexus sedan south on North Street about 12:30 p.m. when she struck a 10-wheel dump truck coming in the opposite direction near Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, 437 North St., according to police. The impact of the crash trapped and severely injured the Lexus driver.

She was later freed by members of the Greenwich Fire Department, who turned over her care to Greenwich Emergency Medical Services, police said. The woman was given advanced life support -- a set of methods to help circulation and breathing -- while being transported to Greenwich Hospital, where she was taken to the emergency room.

Greenwich police had no update on the woman's condition as of early evening Monday. Information on patients' condition cannot be obtained from the hospital without names.

The driver of the dump truck, who was not injured, was working for Norwalk-based C&C Landscaping & Paving. A company representative could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

As the twisted wreckage of the Lexus and the dump truck lay strewn across North Street, members of the Greenwich Police Department's accident reconstruction team took photographs and made measurements Monday afternoon. The Lexus took the brunt of the collision, its front end crumpled and flattened. The dump truck's lower front end also sustained heavy damage.

North Street, which was shut down most of the afternoon as investigators worked at the scene, was opened around 4:30 p.m.

The accident affected school bus service from nearby North Street School, which is south of where the crash occurred, according to the school district. Some school bus service was canceled.

North Street School Principal Charles Smith said school officials sent out a message through the ParentLink system early in the afternoon, notifying parents of the accident.

"Dismissal had to be changed a little bit," he said.

Bus No. 1, which typically runs north on North Street, had to be rerouted, Smith said.

"Parents who normally drive south on North Street couldn't come down," he said.

Most of the school's students take buses to the school or are dropped off by their parents because North Street provides limited walking access, Smith said.

Despite the accident, Smith said dismissal ran smoothly.

A concern for Smith and others is drivers' speed on North Street, one of the town's main north-south thoroughfares, running from central Greenwich near Route 1 all the way into New York state.

"People do drive very fast on North Street," Smith said.

Students, Parents Pay Tribute to Eastern Middle School Music Teacher

This teacher at our local Eastern Middle School, after a battle with a disease (so another newspaper says) took his own life. Very sad. He also lives very close to me, on Valley Road..

For 11 years Steven Allen taught music in Grenwich Public Schools and his infectious love for music and striving to have students perform their best, earned him a legion of loyal students and fans.

Current and former students, and their parents, reeled from the shocking news that Mr. Allen died Wednesday morning, apparently at his own hand, according to Greenwich Police. At the time of his death, Mr. Allen taught orchestra at Eastern Middle School in Riverside, a position he assumed after teaching at the Old Greenwich School.

"We need to remember him for who he was and how many kids he helped. He was a true gem," said Pam Speer, whose son studied with Mr. Allen for several years, beginning at Old Greenwich School, and then at Eastern Middle School.

Speer added, "This man’s praises need to be shouted from the rooftop, truly a wonderful educator and human being." Speer, whose son continues to play the violin in college, added, "How welcoming he was to all students who wanted to play in the orchestra. It didn’t matter whether you were first chair or last chair, he always so encouraging to the students ... he pushed kids to perform to the best of their ability."

Patrice Anibal, whose daughters were students of Mr. Allen's, said one daughter also began her string studies with him at Old Greenwich School, continuing at Eastern and "came back a lot to visit him while in the high school." Her daughter was excited when Mr. Allen asked her to help chaperone his students' annual trip to Six Flags park in Massachusetts where they were perennial top-scorers in the adjudication.

In a statement released Thursday, Greenwich Public School officials said, "As part of the EMS music faculty team, the program has grown substantially, with over 70 percent of the school’s students participating. Mr. Allen was known for his expert direction. Often reaching beyond the standard middle school repertoire, Mr. Allen directed his students on pieces that are more traditionally taught at the high school level and/or custom arranging pieces that resulted in inspiring performances."

Eastern Middle School Principal Ralph Mayo sent an e-mail to parents Wednesday night alerting them to Mr. Allen's passing and that counselors would help students cope with the news on Thursday. Police and emergency personnel were sent Mr. Allen's Cos Cob home Wednesday morning after he failed to report to work.

According to parents, the saxophone-playing teacher also was a long-time member of the Sound Beach Community Band in Old Greenwich.

Anibal also said, "He was just so enthusiastic. He always had a smile on face, I don’t think I ever saw him upset. He was always so positive - he’d stay after school, come in early, his goal was to produce great musicians and be enthusiastic. He did it. ... I’m at a loss at how to understand at what happened. It's awfully hard to explain to the kids."

Mr. Allen's love of music and high standards instilled a love of music for all of his students, Anibal said. "I can think of at least 10 kids who went on to study music in college because of him."

One student wrote on Greenwich Patch, "I miss Mr. Allen and he was a great teacher. I cried today for him as he is now passed away. I play the cello and I was going to quit but then Mr. Allen taught me something. Mr. Allen taught me that if you love something, never quit and stick with what you love. No matter how good or bad you are you need to continue."

Original story:

The popular Eastern Middle School orchestra teacher Steven R. Allen has died, according to officials.

Greenwich Police said they and Greenwich Emergency Medical Service were called to Allen's apartment on Valley Road in Cos Cob after co-workers at the school in Riverside reported he "failed to report for work in the morning" on Wednesday.

"Upon entry into the residence, officers and medical personnel found that
the lone resident of the apartment there was deceased. Detectives responded to the scene and commenced an investigation," police said in a press release issued Thursday morning by Capt. Mark Marino, commander of the Greenwich Police detective division.

Eastern Middle School Principal Ralph Mayo announced Mr. Allen's passing in an e-mail to parents Wednesday night. And Thursday, several parents fondly remembered Mr. Allen's devotion to his students and music, and the passion for music he inspired in them.

"I have some very sad news to share with you. As some of you may know, Steve Allen, our Orchestra teacher and conductor, has been absent for the past few days in ill health. Sadly, we received the news this morning that he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly" Mayo wrote.

"This is a great loss to Eastern Middle School and the entire Greenwich Public School community," Mayo wrote. He also said, "We have a plan to share this information with our students (Thursday). (Thursday), support staff will visit each Advisor Base to share a brief statement with the students and we will also have a staff member attend each of the orchestra classes. Our guidance and counseling staff will be available throughout the day as students need someone to talk with privately."

According to police, "Preliminary investigation has revealed that the resident suffered what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A weapon recovered at the scene was registered to the deceased." Police also said, "Failing health conditions may have caused the deceased to become despondent."

Eastern parents expressed shock at the news of Mr. Allen's passing.

"He is, was an absolutely wonderful educator," said Pam Speer. "He was kind, gentle, most importantly, always inclusive, he always welcomed children into his orchestras regardless of their ability. He made them feel they were a truly valued member of the emsemble. He was encouraging. He helped so many students. He pushed kids to perform to the best of their abilities." Speer son's Will, now a student at Williams College, continues the violin studies he began under Mr. Allen's tutelage at Old Greenwich School and continued when the teacher transferred to EMS.

Another parent, Diane Sperduti said her two daughters also studied with Mr. Allen. "He was very kind and inspiring to my daughter Molly. She only took violin so she could be in his class. He was very encouraging. Because of him she stuck with it."

Speer added, "We need to remember him for who he was and how many kids he helped. He was a true gem. This man’s praises need to be shouted from the rooftop - he truly was a wonderful educator and human being."

An autopsy is to be performed by the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner.

Greenwich Public School officials have not answered a message seeking comment.