In almost the same circumstances, a second 49-year-old woman was killed Friday morning crossing Niagara Falls Boulevard at Willow Ridge Drive at the Amherst-Town of Tonawanda border, the same spot where another woman was killed two months ago.
The two fatalities have prompted a request by police for a meeting with state transportation officials.
The Buffalo woman, identified as Lisa Monaco, had stopped at a convenience store at the intersection on the Amherst side of the boulevard to arrange for a ride home. When she could not reach anyone by phone, she decided to cross the intersection to wait for a bus, authorities said.
Like Jeraldine Tater on June 5, Monaco did not make it across the boulevard alive. She was struck by a southbound car shortly after 5 a.m. in predawn darkness and rain, according to Lt. Paul Yacono of the Town of Tonawanda Police accident investigation unit.
“It’s the same exact thing,” said Yacono, referring to the previous accident that killed Tater.
Tater, who also was dressed in dark clothing, was killed instantly as she crossed from east to west on the boulevard, struck by a Chevrolet Cruze. She had just left the 7-Eleven store, after using the store phone in an attempt to contact a landlord and make arrangements for her move to a West Side apartment.
In this latest tragedy, Monaco had also entered the 7-Eleven and asked to use the phone, according to store manager Sue DiMartino.
“She was trying to arrange for a ride,” DiMartino said.
Ali Ramadan, the store clerk who let Monaco use the phone, said that after trying unsuccessfully to call someone, she inquired about the cost of bus fare and decided to cross the boulevard to wait at a Metro Bus stop on the Tonawanda side.
The 65-year-old driver of the Ford Taurus that struck Monaco told police he did not see her in the curb lane, where she was struck. The impact knocked the victim out of her white sneakers, which remained in the road as investigators were at the scene.
“An investigation is continuing but it does not appear there will be charges,” Yacono said.
Town of Tonawanda Police Lt. Nicholas A. Bado said the department has requested a meeting with state Department of Transportation officials to discuss whether changes such as better lighting need to be made at the intersection to make it safer.
“We need to have a conversation. We need to know whether changes are needed and that we did as much as we could to prevent future incidents,” Bado said, adding that evidence indicates that actions by the pedestrians played a primary role in both fatal accidents.
Residents in the area said that their experience has been that the traffic light at the intersection changes too quickly for pedestrians to make it safely across the four-lane boulevard.
“Sometimes the light changes when you’re crossing,” James Hearn said. “The light changes before you get to the other side.”
DiMartino added that motorists often race through the traffic light as it is changing or will avoid it by cutting through the parking area in front of the store.
“They’ll zoom through the parking lot,” she said. “It’s a bad intersection even in the daytime, especially during rush hour.”