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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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June 2, 1995     Cape Gazette
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June 2, 1995

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CAPE GAZETYE, Friday, June 2 - June 8, 1995 - 15 Holiday traffic heightens Route I safety fears Ambulance chasers pose safety risk; six injured in Route 1 crash By Denise M. Marshall Family members in hot pursuit of ambulances carrying their loved ones pose a public safety risk on state highways, according to Sussex County Emergency Medical Services. "It's a real safety problem whenever any family member tries to follow an emergency vehicle to the hospital," said Frank Shade, support services division manager for the Sussex County EMS. Over Memorial Day weekend, three adults and three children were injured when a woman drove through a red light while follow- ing an ambulance transporting her husband to the hospital. The ac- cident occurred at approximately 1:40 a.m. on Sunday, May 28 at the Five Points intersection near Lewes, according to Delaware State Police Cpl. Hardy of Troop 7. Alma Delt, 68, of Millsboro, was driving eastbound on U.S. 9. She was following an ambulance which was transporting her hus- band to Beebe Medical Center in Lewes. While following the ambulance, Delt drove through a red light, police said. As she crossed the intersection, her vehicle collided with another car traveling south on Del. 1. Delt was taken to Milford Memorial Hospital and later released. The driver of the second vehicle, 27-year-old Cynthia Durham of Dover, was eight months pregnant, according to Shade. Durham, along with four passengers in her car, was transported to Beebe Medical Center. Occupants in Durham's car at the time of the accident were Kendra Cannon, 20, of Dover; April Parker, 12, of Laurel; Demeka Jones, 9, of Dover; and 8-month-old Keyonna Cannon, of Laurel. Kendra Cannon was later transported to Christiana Hospital near Stanton, where she was listed in stable condition on Thursday, State police were unable to provide information on the condition of those involved in the accident. However, Beebe Spokeswoman Maureen Leary said none of the victims were at the hospital on Thursday. "There's a real problem withpeople following the am- bulance, thinking they can run the red light," Shade said. "In fact, they're breaking the law." Shade noted that a family member driving behind an ambulance could easily rear end the ambulance if it had to make a sudden stop. Chuck Snyder, fire chief of the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company, said the fire company provides family members with maps to show them how to get to the hospital. In addition, the com- pany instructs family members not to follow the ambulance, he said. "If they run the light, they're at fault," Snyder said. Hospital policy dictates that family members must stay in the waiting room when a patient is brought into the emergency room, according to Snyder. "When you get to the hospital, you're not go- ing to be able to do anything anyway," he said. Wally Evans, fire chief of the Lewes Volunteer Fire Department, said his department also advises family members to take their time getting to the hospital or to ride in the front of the ambulance. How To Face Your S ring Cleaning The best selection of T-Shirts, Sunglasses, & Beach Sandals in Lewes! beach outriggers ,ome u.  np,wn., n..m, u a KHan  nu,n,u.amu4nn ............. I By Denise M. Marshall Del. 1 is an accident waiting to happen, according to the chief traffic engineer for the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). "This is the first summer I do not feel comfortable about Route 1," said Bruce Littleton, Del- DOT's chief traffic engineer. Littleton's concern was trig- gered by his observations of Del. 1 over Memorial Day weekend. He was particularly concerned about motorists stacking up in left turn lanes leading into shopping outlets. When left lanes were filled, some motorists actually stopped on the through lanes while waiting to get into outlet centers, Littleton said. "It's amazing what people will do to get in just to shop," he said. 'q'he potential for an accident was very high." Traffic was heavy, and vehicles filled the left turn lane at the Re- hoboth Outlet Center, where L.L Bean opened a factory outlet store last week. "The malls saw their share of traffic," Littleton said. According to Littleton, internal- ized traffic was heavy from Lewes to Dewey Beach. "Route 1 - there's nothing more you can do for it," Littleton said. 'There's just more traffic than the roads can handle." Chuck Snyder, fire chief of the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company, expressed concern over emergency response times along the traffic-choked highway. "It does slow you down," he said. On Sunday, an emergency vehi- cle responding to a call had to ma- neuver around traffic backed up from Dewey Beach to the Indian River Inlet bridge, Snyder said. Ambulance personnel from Re- hoboth Beach responded to more than 40 calls during the four-day holiday weekend, Snyder said. In addition to routine calls, the am- bulance crew responded to heat- related illnesses throughout the re- sort area and a number of injuries related to bar fights in Dewey Beach. "I know at night it was crazy," he said. "We ran a tremendous number of ambulance runs." "I think we're all concerned," said Mike Tyler, president of Citi- zeus Coalition. "The bottom line is this summer is going to be the litmus test for the carrying capaci- ty of Route 1." Citizens Coalition has sent a let- ter to Gov. Thomas R. Carper re- questing that DelDOT deny the owners of a planned miniature golf course and Sea Shell Shop access to Del. 1 near the Market- place shopping center. The group wants access to the property pro- vided through the shopping cen- tel Representatives of the Re- hoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company have also pushed state officials to limit access along Del. 1. A working group, which is de- veloping an action plan to im- prove safety and mobility along Del. 1 between Rehoboth Beach and Five Points, has recommend- ed that the state deny access to Continued on page 17 Let us do the dirty work. We'll custom-craft a Callfomia Closet that fits your belonglngs and needs exactly. And make sure you understand how to use It. So you stay organized for good. CALL FOR A FREE IN-HOME CONSULTATION "You can put your favorite color photo - blown up! - on one of Atlantic Litho's Beefy-T T-Shirts, for only $15  in full color. T-Shirt and all!" 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