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Traffic light installed in Lindenhurst at site of fatal crashes

A new traffic light was installed on Montauk

A new traffic light was installed on Montauk Highway at South 13th Street in Lindenhurst, the site of multiple fatal car accidents. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

A new traffic light was installed at the intersection of South 13th Street and Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst, near the site of multiple fatal car accidents.

The State Department of Transportation installed the light Oct. 6 and it became fully operational Oct. 17.

Three members of one Lindenhurst family were killed in separate accidents near the intersection over the past several years. Two were hit-and-run accidents.

Brittney Walsh, of Lindenhurst, was 18 and a recent high school graduate when she was killed near the intersection in 2012. A speeding drunken driver hit her car from behind.

Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre’s district office is only a block away from where the traffic light is now installed, and residents had long sent requests to her office for a light at the intersection, according to Brendan Cunningham, her chief of staff.

In addition to the light, the DOT said it added a left turn lane, a new crosswalk and enhanced pedestrian signals with disability-compliant pedestrian ramps.

They also added a “Signal Ahead” sign for westbound traffic on Montauk Highway ahead of a curve in the road.

Another traffic light will be installed in the coming weeks at South Eighth Street and Montauk Highway, according to the DOT.

Both intersections will be monitored for further safety improvements, the department said.

Pauline Aluska, 54, died in a hit-and-run pedestrian crash at South 13th Street on Aug. 14. Her brother, John Aluska, 61, was killed a block away less than two years earlier. On Mother’s Day, their sister-in-law, Diane Aluska, 55, was killed when a car hit her as she walked near the intersection with her 16-year-old daughter. She pushed her daughter away moments before she was struck.

Tom Walsh, whose daughter Brittney was killed in the drunken-driving accident at South 13th Street, said he was glad to see the light installed.

Walsh, who still lives in Lindenhurst, acknowledged that a traffic light would most likely not have prevented his daughter’s death — Michael Grasing was driving with a blood-alcohol content four times the legal limit when he crashed into Brittney Walsh’s car. Grasing was convicted of aggravated vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting a fatality.

But with the traffic light, Walsh said, at least “the corner will be safer.”

“You could put up a traffic light at every corner, but if people want to get away, they will,” he said.

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