Woodstock Man Killed on Road That Raised Safety Concerns
Broken glass and auto debris mark the spot of a fatal car accident that took place on Sunday night at the intersection of Fletcher Hill and Peterkin Hill Roads in Woodstock, Vt., on August 19, 2013. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
Woodstock — Police are investigating a single-vehicle accident that killed a 22-year-old Woodstock man Sunday evening on a road residents red flagged last month.
Jon Ferrero was a passenger in a pick-up truck allegedly driven by Justin Pierce, 21, of Woodstock, on Fletcher Hill Road when Pierce apparently lost control of the vehicle at the intersection with Peterkin Hill Road, according to a news release from Woodstock police.
The two childhood friends were returning to Woodstock from a game of their Connecticut River Valley Baseball League team, the Claremont Cardinals. Ferrero’s mother, Nancy, said her son played “a great game” Sunday in helping his team to the win. The victory secured the league’s championship for his team.
“I remember Jon coming home Saturday and he wouldn’t take his uniform off and I wanted to wash it for Sunday’s game and he said, ‘No, this dirt will bring me luck tomorrow,’ ” Nancy Ferrero said.
She remembered her son as a consummate athlete, a loyal friend and a hard worker.
“He was very special to me,” she said. “He was my baby.”
Ferrero said her son and Pierce knew each other since they were toddlers. Jon Ferrero was engaged to Pierce’s sister, Morgan, though the two had yet to set a date.
Neighbor and summer league teammate Bob Myers described Ferrero as the kind of young man every parent hopes for hisson to be.
“There aren’t enough good adjectives to describe the kind of character that kid had,” Myers said through tears on Monday. “He is the young man that you would want to have as your son or that you would want your daughter to marry. It’s hard to imagine a world that doesn’t have that kid in it.”
Myers coached Ferrero on the Woodstock Union High School baseball team and said he had been the most valuable player of this past weekend’s Connecticut River Valley tournament.
Woodstock High varsity baseball coach Jason Tarleton, who coached Ferrero in both middle and high school and also played with him this summer, said he and Myers rode home together from Sunday’s game and that the two talked about Ferrero and the type of person he developed into.
“He’s become such an outspoken and passionate kid,” Tarleton said. “He was already a fantastic kid, but he had grown so much from high school and we are so proud of him.
“He is the kid that you compare others to — you want them to be like Jonny,” Tarleton said. “To have his passion, his mental fortitude, his work ethic, that’s the kid you want to replicate and unfortunately (now) you can’t do that.”
Woodstock Police Chief Robbie Blish said Monday the accident remains under investigation.
“It’s alleged that speed and alcohol may have been a factor,” Blish said, noting skid marks were visible along the dirt road and alcohol containers were found at the scene. The posted speed limit is 35 mph.
Justin Pierce was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for injuries he sustained in the crash and was listed in fair condition on Monday.
According to a news release from police, around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Pierce lost control of a grey Chevrolet pickup truck, “causing the vehicle to strike the guardrail on the east side of the road and flip onto the driver’s side and strike a tree, coming to rest on the driver’s side facing east over the embankment, in the brook.”
Glass from a blown out window, plastic pieces from the vehicle and other miscellaneous debris were still visible in Beaver Brook on Monday morning, while town workers replaced the damaged guardrail.
The accident came shortly after Fletcher Hill Road residents had asked for advisory signs to be placed along the four mile stretch of road .
At the Aug. 6 Woodstock Selectboard meeting, board members unanimously voted to erect signs on Fletcher Hill warning drivers of dangerous curves with a suggested speed limit of 15 mph . Signs indicating farm machinery on the roadway also were included.
Public works employee Everett Chamberlin said the signs arrived Monday and he “wouldn’t be surprised” if they were installed this week.
Fletcher Hill Road resident Fred Barr said he was saddened to hear of accident.
“I don’t know if any speed limits or signs would have ever changed that,” Barr said. “I am disturbed that two young people, and local people, had this happen to them. It was very unfortunate.”
Barr called the intersection of Peterkin and Fletcher Hill Roads a “malfunction junction,” as traffic flows from multiple directions, and said a dangerous intersection sign should be discussed.
“This is a tragic accident,” Barr said. “I think it is going to alert people that things have got to be different and that things have got to get better for traffic along this road.”
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3248.