Police seek 'vehicle of interest,' neighbors question road safety after deadly hit-and-run

November 14, 2018 06:45 AM

Irondequoit Police repeated their appeal to the public for tips to solve a deadly hit-and-run even as they announced the discovery of a new potential clue, a 'vehicle of interest' sought by investigators.

On Tuesday, police released pictures of a white pickup truck with a box over its bed spotted near the scene where 87-year-old Joan Dierna was hit and killed in the 300 block of Bay View Road on Saturday.


Police believed she had been crossing the street to retrieve her mail when she was hit.

She was discovered around 9:55 a.m. The picture of the truck was taken by a nearby home security camera shortly before then.  

Police Chief Richard Tantalo asked people in the neighborhood to remember what they might have seen.

"The timing of the situation and the unique aspect of the vehicle is what we are hoping may lead us to some additional information," he explained. "We're really relying on the public to come forward. They've been exceptional with us as far as sharing whatever information they had."

Investigation technicians are working with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to reconstruct the scene, a process made harder by the fact that they had no vehicle to work with as they tried to figure out how the accident happened, said Lt. Alan Laird of the police department's technical team.          

"It makes it a very difficult scene," he said. "It makes it very tough with the information, with the limited information we have."

As police solicited input from possible witnesses, the Town of Irondequoit also heard from homeowners concerned about safety along Bay View Road. 

"Bay View Road is a proven death trap," declared George Haskins in a letter to Town Supervisor David Seeley. "Previously, it was just dogs, cats, possums and deer. But now a human life has been claimed."

Haskins wrote the letter on Saturday shortly after Joan Dierna's death. He complained that he had been witnessing high speeds, near misses and minor accidents causing property damage along Bay View for years.

"They come off of 590 where they've been driving 60 miles an hour," he said, "and they turn onto Bay View, and they go around the first two curves and… Oh! They got a straight stretch, so then they speed up!" 

"I am afraid to even cross across the street," exclaimed Carol Boshears, whose home on Bay View was only a few doors from where Joan Dierna was found. "You have to really, really, look. And I run! I don't just walk. I run."

Tantalo was reluctant to blame the road for Saturday's deadly incident.

"We have had some minor motor vehicle accidents," he granted. "Certainly nothing that rises to this level, and certainly nothing that would indicate we have an unsafe roadway."

Seeley acknowledged receiving Haskins' letter and pointed out that the town had reevaluated and reduced its speed limits earlier this year in response to the death of Irondequoit High School student Michael Lynch.

"We had a couple of public hearings when we were lowering the speed limit," he said. "I didn't get any specific feedback from residents in that vicinity."

As an Irondequoit town road, Sealy said, Bay View Road has a speed limit of 30 mph with a suggested slower speed of 25 mph on curves.

"But, again," he said, "that doesn't mean that their concerns aren't warranted. And certainly, we take very seriously any concerns about speed and safety of roadways."


Charles Molineaux

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