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Officials say intersection where fatal crash occurred should have four-way stop

Riverhead Town officials expressed concern about what they say is a dangerous intersection where a fatal crash occurred Wednesday.

The crash claimed the life of an 85-year-old Calverton man in the collision at Horton and Reeves Avenues.

Riverhead Planning Board member Ed Densieski said last Thursday he is drafting a letter to send to the Town Board urging the board to make Horton and Reeves a four-way stop.

Currently there are stop signs for westbound and eastbound traffic on Reeves Avenue, but not for the north-south traffic on Horton Avenue.

“The planning board has attempted in the past to get the Town Board to make that a four-way stop,” Mr. Densieski said. 

“Now, another person has died and other people have serious injuries.”

He said the suggestion was sent to the Town Board’s traffic advisory committee a few years ago, but it felt the additional stop signs were not needed.

“It’s very much needed,” Mr. Densieski said. “There’s fences on three corners limiting the vision.”

The Town Board actually had a discussion about the intersection prior to the Planning Board meeting at its work session Thursday.

Councilman Frank Beyrodt said he came upon the accident last Wednesday.

“It was a horrible tragedy,” he said. “The 10-wheeler turned over on our sod farm and dumped over whatever contents it had. The driver and the passenger were in really terrible shape.”

He said the fencing obstructs the view of drivers and suggested a four-way stop at the intersection.

Councilwoman Catherine Kent also favored the four-way stop.

Police Chief David Hegermiller said the police have taken some steps, such as having oversized stop signs.

The preliminary investigation indicated that Patrick Welby was driving a 2017 Buick SUV westbound on Reeves Avenue when he failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection and was struck by a 1998 Freightliner dump truck owned by Danny’s Cesspool, Inc., heading northbound on Horton Avenue.

Police said Mr. Welby was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, 86-year-old Nora Raughan of Calverton, was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Mr. Welby retired as a captain in the FDNY in 1992 and was an active member of the Knights of Columbus for 50 years, according to an obituary published by O.B. Davis Funeral Homes in Miller Place, which handled his services. Visitation was held Tuesday at the funeral home and a funeral mass was scheduled Wednesday at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church in Riverhead, where Mr. Welby was a Eucharistic minister. Interment is scheduled to follow at St. Anthony’s Church Cemetery in Nanuet.