By David Gordon, Managing Editor
On April 14, 2008, second-semester junior Gregory Welch was walking across the intersection between Uniondale Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike when, while trying to avoid an on-coming truck, he was hit by the unseen car that was driving alongside.
He was taken to Nassau University Medical Center where, according to his mother, Lisa (who is the associate director of graduate programs in the Frank G. Zarb School of Business), "they essentially saved his life."
Gregory, who is currently living in Tennessee with his father, is a lucky survivor of a Hempstead Turnpike-associated accident. In a report released in January, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC) named Route 24, which encompasses Hempstead Turnpike, Fulton Avenue and Conklin Street, the most dangerous roadway for walkers in the tri-state area.
"Hempstead Turnpike is a very dangerous road," said Bill Florio, Nassau County assistant director of special projects, noting the TSTC's study.
There were 13 pedestrian fatalities in the three-year span of the study (2006-2008) on Route 24, the highest number of deaths of pedestrians on a single roadway in the tri-state area. 83 pedestrian deaths occurred on Nassau County streets during the same time span. (The study did not include parkways and did not take road-length into account.)
"I feel it is important that I mention several permanent injuries I have sustained since the car accident," Welch recently told The Chronicle via email. Among them, paralysis on his left side, limited movement of his triceps and shoulder and a vision cut, "which means I cannot see as much as I should be able to out of my left eye."
Welch, more than anything, wants to return to his home in Stonybrook, but he cannot until extensive repairs are done to the house to better accommodate him. Family friends will be holding a fundraiser in his honor on February 27.
"Greg's accident was just that – an accident," his mother said. "That whole area is bad."
It has been said that Nassau County is looking into installing red light cameras, which Welch's mother thinks "might work" to prevent further accidents.