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Flanders Road accident leaves family frustrated for days


David Fitzgerald has given up buying a nice mailbox.

“I just have a raggedy, plastic mailbox sticking in a cement block,” he said. 

He’s lived in his home on Flanders Road for more than 20 years and he previously lived across the street dating back to when was born. He’ll be 62 on Aug. 1. Cars have swerved off the road and onto his lawn at least a dozen times that he can remember in the past two decades. His Riverside home sits at a curve on Flanders Road, which contributes to the high rate of accidents, he said.

On Monday afternoon, as Mr. Fitzgerald drove toward his home, he spotted the familiar sight of police lights flashing.

“We said, it’s got to be our house,” said Mr. Fitzgerald, who lives with his wife Marianne and kids David and Stephani. “It’s always an accident on that curve.”

He was right. And the accident ahead, a truck that had flipped on its side, turned out to be more than an inconvenience that afternoon for his family.

The truck struck a utility pole, flipped onto its side and another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction then hit the truck. While no serious injuries were reported by Southampton Town police — Mr. Fitzgerald said the truck driver managed to climb free — the latest accident created a days-long headache for the Fitzgerald family.

The truck “tore up” the yard, broke through a retaining wall and smashed the mailbox, he said. But the real trouble came when they realized the utility pole had wiped out power to their home. The cable wire initially caught fire in the road.

“That was kind of scary,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

The accident occurred shortly after 2:10 p.m., police said. The road remained closed for nearly seven hours as crews worked to fix the pole.

Mr. Fitzgerald praised the police and crews from Verizon, PSEG-LI and Hawkeye — an energy contractor — that worked at the scene to repair the damage. But when the utility pole fell, it also pulled a wire connecting to the Fitzgerald’s side of the house.

It was damaged to the point that it couldn’t be promptly fixed. The PSEG workers managed to create a temporary bypass to bring in electricity to the house by about 9 p.m., Mr. Fitzgerald said.

But they still needed a permanent fix and the cable and telephone service both remained out. When a worker from Cablevision came to fix the cable, Mr. Fitzgerald was informed it couldn’t be done until the electricity hookup was permanently fixed. To do that, he needed to hire an electrician. On Thursday morning, an electrician came for the job, which cost about $350, money Mr. Fitzgerald had to lay out before he can eventually get reimbursed through insurance, he said.

Once the electric work was completed, they needed to wait for Cablevision to return again.

“If my 25-year-old comes home with no more cable, I might have to fight him,” Mr. Fitzgerald joked on Thursday shortly before his scheduled appointment with Cablevision.

Later that afternoon, more than 72 hours after the initial accident, the internet and telephone service was back up and running.

Photo Caption: Marianne Fitzgerald talks with Southampton detective Robert Stabile Jr. on Monday outside her home on Flanders Road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

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The truck that flipped over on Flanders Road Monday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
The truck that flipped over on Flanders Road Monday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)