NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – In less than 24 hours, three car accidents involving two deaths occurred in the City of New Haven. 

The city is doing what it can to address this and they want to make sure everyone is safe.

The string of incidents began when city resident Damaso Rosario Luna, 68, was struck by three different cars on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard near Plymouth Street around 10 p.m. Saturday night.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. All of the cars involved fled without calling the police, according to New Haven officers.

Now, a memorial on Kimberly Avenue continues to grow for Luna.

“A lot of speeding going on,” said Tito Rodriguez. “It’s been like that for a long time.”

Four hours later, Mayor Justin Elicker said several cars were drag racing on Sargeant Drive when they crashed into other cars near the Mobil gas station. One of the drivers who were racing died and others have serious injuries.

“Last year, we had a total of ten pedestrian fatalities,” said Officer Scott Shumway, New Haven Police Department. “So far, this year, we have two. The number of fatalities definitely spike in 2021. We’re working very hard to get those numbers back down.”

Elicker also confirmed a pedestrian was struck in a hit-and-run while crossing the street at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and West Street around 8 p.m. Sunday night.

“I can’t say how frustrated I am about the dangerous driving in the city. We have these kinds of incidents all too often,” said Elicker. 

New Haven police say they’re tackling the issue from all sides.

“The department is exploring all options such as getting new equipment, getting new cameras, getting more officers out there looking for these types of things,” Shumway said.

It’s a priority for the city as well. Speed humps and raised intersections have been installed throughout New Haven with the hopes of slowing people down.

“We just announced and just completed a raised crosswalk on Townsend Avenue, another state road that has a lot of issues with speeding,” Elicker said. “This is the first-ever raised crosswalk in the state.

Avid biker Lior Trestman noted that too many people have lost their lives because of dangerous driving. 

“When you make a street wide, and you have multiple lanes it feels a lot like a highway. On highways, people feel comfortable going fast. And speeding is what kills,” he said. 

He believes redesigning the streets will slow down cars and make it safer to walk and ride bikes. 
Elicker said the city is installing different infrastructure, like speed humps and raised crosswalks, to do just that. It’s all a part of the Citywide Active Transportation Plan to make the city more friendly to other modes of transportation besides driving.

However, it’s going to take some time before all of the recommendations are implemented. 

“When people aren’t careful, we need to make sure the infrastructure is there to make sure people can traverse safely across the city,” the mayor said. 

Another part of the solution is street cameras. The cameras can track license plates so police will be able to find suspects in hit-and-runs.

Some cameras have been installed already but it will be some time before they are fully up and running.