East Meadow attorney Jay D. Umans doesn't remember anything that happened between getting in his car on June 27 after a swim at the beach in Southampton and waking to police officers telling him he's going to be airlifted to the hospital. In between, he was involved in a two-car accident.
Now, Umans is on a mission to see a traffic light installed at the intersection of Road D and Meadow Lane, but village Mayor Mark Epley said there is no way a traffic light will be installed there. “There’s traffic there probably 10 times a year, 15 times a year,” Epley said. "It doesn’t warrant a traffic light.”
Umans pins responsibility for the crash on the other driver, who he is suing, but says that "the lack of traffic controls at the intersection also contributed to the accident." He has now let the deadline for him to file a notice of claim against the village pass, ceding his ability to sue the village as well. He explained that he is indebted to the village for its emergency personnel who responded to the crash and treated him.
He suffered facial injuries, lost some gripping ability in his hand, and has pain in his spine, neck and shoulders.
Umans maintains that the other driver, who told police she was under the 25-mile-per-hour limit, was speeding eastbound on Meadow Lane while he was making a right from the south side of Road D, to also head east. While he does not remember any of this, he said he surmised what must have happened based on the damage his car sustained and where the vehicle ended up after the crash. He said it is impossible for someone turning from Road D to see oncoming traffic from the left without pulling out into the intersection first.
Epley said, at the recommendation of a traffic engineer, the village took measures last year to make the intersection safer, including striping the road to narrow the lanes of travel, which discourages speeding, and putting in a crosswalk with warning signs for drivers. “There were people that wanted a stop sign in Meadow Lane," Epley said. "Our traffic engineer said you don’t use a stop sign as a speed control device."
In Umans' eyes, a crosswalk is insufficient. While an accident could still happen with a traffic light, he said, "You have to be a quasi-criminal to go through a red light, or really, really distracted."
Shortly after the accident, the village installed stop signs on both the north and south sides of Road D, but not on Meadow Lane.