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Man in wheelchair dies in crash with driver of concrete truck near I-93 ramps at Frontage Road

Update, Wednesday: Updated with new information from State Police.

State Police report a Boston man in a wheelchair was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash with a Boston Sand and Gravel truck hauling concrete at Frontage Road and Traveler Street around 10:10 a.m. today.

Fernando Pizzaro, 57, was declared dead at the scene, State Police say:

The investigation to date indicates that, immediately prior to the crash, he was moving in and around stopped vehicles in his wheelchair at the intersection of Traveler Street and Frontage Road.

Mr. Pizarro was in front of the concrete truck as traffic began to move and was struck by it.

The driver of the truck and Boston Sand and Gravel representatives have been cooperative with investigators. The truck was towed to a State Police facility where it will be examined by Troopers from the MSP’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section. Troopers thus far have found no evidence suggesting impairment or distraction on the driver’s part. Per federal Department of Transportation regulations, the driver was screened for alcohol or drug use.

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Comments

...the man who usually wheels himself backward in the middle of the street. I've seen him frequently around the Back Bay, and I think he was recently found in the Turnpike tunnel under the Pru. Tragic

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Voting closed 38

"Fernando R. Pizarro, 57, was 'moving in and around' stopped vehicles using his wheelchair at the intersection of Traveler Street and Frontage Road just before the incident, according to State Police. He was in front of a concrete truck when traffic began to move."

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2024/04/03/victim-id-new-details-...

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Voting closed 16

As soon as I heard this story, I thought the victim would be a homeless person who was probably panhandling.
The Pine Street Inn is a couple hundred yards away from that location. The traffic lights are favorite locations to ask people for money. Sadly, I think it was bound to happen because of a number of things. Heavy traffic coming off of and getting onto the expressway or Mass Pike. Also, the people asking for money out in the middle of these streets, at times not in crosswalks or on the sidewalk.
God Rest His Soul.

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Voting closed 26

This sounds like blaming the victim when very few details have been released.

Thousands upon thousands of pedestrians cross this chokepoint intersection every day. Just because there's a Pine Street inn nearby doesn't mean it's correct to speculate that the person was homeless and also somehow acting in a way that forced a commercial vehicle to kill them.

A man was hit by a local construction vehicle (not known for being respectful drivers) in a busy horribly designed intersection. Let's not start with speculating that the victim is the main one at fault.

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Voting closed 49

Proceeds to speculate it was the driver and/or the road's design's fault.

Meanwhile, "Friends of the man said he'd been asking for spare change when he was hit by the truck."

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/pedestrian-struck-by-vehicle-in-bos...

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Voting closed 36

“Pizarro was in front of the cement truck when traffic began moving and was killed when the truck started forward.”

Seems reasonable to blame the driver.

Bad road design is usually a factor in pedestrian deaths and assuming that is in line with vision zero thinking. This intersection is insane and dangerous for pedestrians.

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Voting closed 12

I don’t think so. Sounds like you don’t drive around places where panhandlers jump in front of you in moving traffic. This has been a problem since the “Chargers” were forced out into traffic by their deadbeat father. No one should be able to beg in moving traffic.

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Voting closed 34

… been in that intersection or that area.

It’s one of the most notorious for speeders and scofflaws. I’m there frequently. Lots of aggression comes to the surface there. Lots of fear too.

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Voting closed 27

Sounds like you don’t walk around here. This really isn’t a pan handling spot probably because of absolutely insane and dangerous driving behavior. At least I have literally never seen anyone pan handle here despite walking, biking, and driving through regularly. What I have seen here is drivers repeatedly doing flagrantly illegal and dangerous things.

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Voting closed 22

For about three years not too long ago I rode through 6 times a week on my bike.
It remains one of the most hellish intersections I’ve ever experienced. I bet my blood pressure rose every time I approached it.
Now when I have to pass through it I am always amazed it remains such a hell hole.

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Voting closed 17

This sounds like blaming the victim when very few details have been released.

Blaming the driver when few details have been released: good. Blaming the pedestrian/bicyclist when few details have been released: bad.

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Voting closed 37

“Pizarro was in front of the cement truck when traffic began moving and was killed when the truck started forward.”

Seems reasonable to blame the driver.

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Voting closed 6

Lets just go with the facts we have. The person struck was in a wheelchair. The driver was operating a cement truck. This is a commercial vehicle. It can be designed so that the operator can see anything close to the truck. 360 degree visibility is being marketed to luxury cars so it is available for trucks as well. If the driver cannot see an obstruction in front of the truck, then that vehicle could be restricted from urban roads.

But businesses don't want to pay for that and they lobby for car centric laws. People keep dying. Police reports will keep congratulating the driver for not running away and not so subtly blaming the victim.

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Voting closed 12

Just because you missed some of the details doesn't mean they don't exist. There have been interviews with some of his friends confirming that he indeed was homeless. Come on. People in wheelchairs who aren't homeless are very unlikely to be spare changing right there in the middle of dangerous traffic, and understanding that he likely felt forced by circumstances to engage in such risky behavior is not the same thing as blame. In fact he's the 2nd homeless person in a wheelchair mowed down in the streets this year in Boston.

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Voting closed 18

“Pizarro was in front of the cement truck when traffic began moving and was killed when the truck started forward.“

Given this it is much more reasonable to blame the driver than do some it was his behavior that caused it but I’m not blaming him BS.

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Voting closed 12

Construction drivers what? Horrible intersection design what?

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Voting closed 13

However I recently read a post elsewhere from a reliable source on why cement truck drivers in particular can be very dangerous on city streets.
He works in construction and says the drivers are under immense pressure to get their product delivered in timely fashion or else it will be unusable. His suggestion was that cement trucks should be given police escorts.
I’m not saying this had anything had anything to do with the incident in question. But I think his suggestion is worth considering.

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Voting closed 19

That was directed at Sartreswaiter

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Voting closed 7

Just wanted to be clear. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

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Voting closed 10

Please delete

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Voting closed 7

It's not speculating its fact. Read the other articles, each one states that the victim was homeless, is known to the Pine Street Inn, and was actively in traffic panhandling. Regardless, a tragedy.

I live in the neighborhood and unfortunately I believe I saw the victim crossing Albany at the Traveler Street intersection about an hour before. He was pushing himself backwards into oncoming traffic and someone warned him but he proceeded to push himself into traffic and appeared to be heavily under the influence. I can only assume that it was the same person.

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Voting closed 15

I assumed the same thing that he was homeless and panhandling and it just was confirmed he was homeless! And he was bobbing and weaving in and out of cars panhandling!

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Voting closed 9

… in crosswalks or on sidewalks!!!!

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Voting closed 14

I know nothing of the circumstances of this tragic accident, nor where the pedestrian might have been in the intersection at the time.

But I do know that this intersection is absolutely horrible and even when used correctly its a danger to this city due to careless design.

The crosswalk is RIGHT at the stop line. Large SUVs, nevermind a Tractor Trailer truck, CANNOT see pedestrians crossing at this incredibly busy, ratsnest of roads at the middle of the I-90 & I-93 interchanges. And there's absolutely no way around it. For Pedestrians coming from South Boston it is mandatory to go through this horrible intersection.

Boston pays so much lip service to "vision zero" and yet contravenes its core principles at just about every turn. Crosswalks in this city are such a major issue and the local gov has done just about everything to make requesting improvements for them impossible.

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Voting closed 74

I completely agree. I used to get out at the Broadway T stop and have to go through this series of intersections. It feels actively hostile to human life.

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Voting closed 29

We need to start protesting this. Whenever the city tries to improve things all the NIMBYs come out and they often cave like happened a few blocks away where the city removed barriers, citing driver safety, and later a pedestrian was killed in the exact spot they removed them.

We need to make them care and we need to outweigh the NIMBY voices who are fighting to maintain unsafe streets.

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Voting closed 21

For example, at the corner of Court/Tremont/Cambridge, in front of the Government Center T.

The intersection in question is almost certainly under state maintenance since it involves the access roads to 93 (and that's also probably why the Staties responded). I've walked through it to/from Southie bunches of times and I think the design is pretty reasonable, as long as you're paying attention to the lights and the traffic.

But sure, you "know nothing of the circumstances of this tragic accident, nor where the pedestrian might have been in the intersection at the time" but immediately jump to the conclusion that the problem was obviously the design of the intersection/driver in a big truck. Meanwhile, those of us who actually walk around Boston know there's a pretty good chance that the victim was probably in the intersection panhandling. That doesn't mean he deserved to die, but it's also freaking dangerous. Jumping in the lion pen at the zoo doesn't mean you should die, either, but it's still not a good idea.

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Voting closed 29

“Meanwhile, those of us who actually walk around Boston know there's a pretty good chance that the victim was probably in the intersection panhandling.”

I actually walk around Boston. I have never seen someone pan handle in this location. Bad infrastructure design is a reasonable assumption to make about deadly crashes and in line with vision zero thinking. You absolutely are victim blaming no matter how much you claim otherwise.

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Voting closed 16

There have been TV interviews with his friends confirming that yes he was homeless and yes he was panhandling. It's also not victim blaming if you consider what circumstances might have led him to have no other options to spare changing on a dangerous road.

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Voting closed 12

So either I just go through it more often or you are just unlucky.

Blah blah blah "victim blaming." But panhandling in busy intersections is legitimately dangerous; unfortunately there are people who are mentally ill or under the influence or just plain desperate (or a combination) so they put themselves at risk. I never assume that a driver can see me or is paying attention.

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Voting closed 22

Driving this intersection multiple times weekly, I will say for certain, there are panhandlers. There is one man in particular that I have seen for at least 5 years, who sets up at the end of the West Fourth Street Bridge early in the AM.

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Voting closed 8

If this was who I think it was then it was only a matter of time.

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Voting closed 22

Why is there little to show for it? Majority have serious mental illness, serious personality disorders, addictions. Why were mental hospitals closed instead of reformed? Who is making $ off the homeless industry? It's not the homeless.

Week ago saw a pitiful, obviously mentally ill man beside a Chinatown restaurant,wrapped in dirty blankets , in the freezing cold, psychotic state of mind. A well dressed, obviously well off middle-aged woman walked out, turned, looked at the man, and smiled. She walked away. I see similar attitudes everyday, and often outright contempt. And this is a "progressive" blue city. Absolute sadism to let this go on. These human beings can not care for themselves and should not be allowed to live and die on the streets. We are a wealthy nation. Again, where does the billions spent end up?

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Voting closed 20

Good post. I have asked time and time again, what is causing this enormous wave of mentally ill and/or addicted people overrunning the streets, the T and everywhere else in this city? All I hear is how the city is so much safer than it used to be, and how the murder rate is down down down. But the actual quality of life has gone to absolute hell. I don't think people are thinking to clearly about it, or are somehow oblivious, because I have asked the question here before and get well intentioned but ridiculous responses like "you just notice it more because of the pandemic". I have ridden the T almost daily for over 40 years (sad, I know) and never before has it been like this. It's truly dsytopian. What is behind this?

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Voting closed 10

Sad, but the city and other cities are in many ways a pale reflection of what they once were. It physically looks better than ever (minus DTX), but it lacks vitality, sense of cohesion and community. This is also true of other places.

And yes, the homeless mentally ill, druggies has never been as bad as now. And the subway was mostly sane and perfectly function, even fast. Not anymore.

Be wary of crime stats. They can be easily fudged in a variety of ways. Murders were much higher 30+ years ago, but many victims would have a much better chance of surviving today due to better EMT and ER treatment. Also, the "ghetto" )most violent) neighborhoods have gentrified and many low income people can no longer afford live in the city, moving to low income satellite cities in the metro area. Crime has greatly increased in these smaller cities

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Voting closed 11

The legislature never funded the replacement services when they closed the inappropriate shitholes known as asylums.

That's what is causing it.

Add NIMBY "OMFG YOU CAN'T PUT SERVICES ANYWHERE NEAR ANYTHING" and "I'm not going to pay more taxes for anything" and stir.

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Voting closed 17

“Billions spent on the homeless?” Citation needed!

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Voting closed 10

Total: $900 million. Additional $ comes from charities, etc. This for a population in this state in the tens of thousands tops.

The federal government allocated $3billion + for homeless. The U.S. a a whole does spend $ billions$ per year for estimated 650,000 people.

L.A. county (10 million) spends billion+ for estimated 75,000 people. California 17+ billion .

Do the math. Doesn't add up. Where does these huge sumsens up?

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Voting closed 12

Right up there with "How come Homeless Veterans aren't given priority for housing?'.

Ask for a list of those "homeless veterans" and no one seems to have a list but everyone seems to think that there millions upon millions of homeless veterans when affordable housing is announced.

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Voting closed 16

So many victim blaming and dehumanizing assumptions in these comments. Not everyone in a wheelchair is homeless. Not all homeless people use drugs. Not all wheel chair users use drugs. Not all homeless people are begging. Not all people Who beg are begging all the time. No one begs in this location. People who beg in dangerous locations are desperate and need help not stigma. People in wheelchairs also need to cross the street.

The difference between the average comment here and the comments about the 4 year old show many people think there are certain kinds of people who are acceptable victims of traffic violence.

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Voting closed 24

The same people who were blaming the driver who killed the 4-year-old by the Children's Museum are the same people who blame the driver here.

But some of us also recognize that little kids aren't great with impulse control and just generally don't know better, so sometimes they run out into places that aren't safe.

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Voting closed 15

So they can drive at a safe speed that allows them to brake effectively in the event a person steps out from between parked cars or anywhere in the street.
With the Childrens Museum just steps away, this driver should have been extra cautious.

There is no excuse for driving at an uncontrollable speed and hitting someone.

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Voting closed 24

And paying attention to the road, as one should, it is completely NOT OBVIOUS that the Children's Museum is there. There's a banner on a wall but Sleeper St just looks like it has a bunch of old industrial buildings.

How do you know the driver's speed was uncontrollable, apart from your usual baseless speculation?

And bonus points for confirming my previous statement about who's blaming whom.

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Voting closed 15

Sounds like the truck driver was unable to see someone right in front of him.

And, yes, this happens due to poor truck design, poor intersection design, etc.

Something tells me that you passively delight in people you don't like being killed on the streets and elsewhere, because you make lots of excuses as to why it is acceptable.

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Voting closed 22

Is blaming the person who is dead really the same as blaming the person who killed them? What are the stakes of victim blaming? What are the stakes of attributing responsibility to someone behind the wheel when the legal system resolutely refuses to do so in almost all situations unless they are drunk? Not the same.

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Voting closed 15

State Police have released more information, including the victim's name.

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Voting closed 9

“ The investigation to date indicates that, immediately prior to the crash, he was moving in and around stopped vehicles in his wheelchair at the intersection of Traveler Street and Frontage Road. Mr. Pizarro was in front of the concrete truck as traffic began to move and was struck by it.”

So shoot me, driver apologists, but I’m going to speculate that the victim was “moving in and around stopped vehicles” because drivers were blocking the box and/or stopped in the crosswalk. This is typical behavior I see 8 times out of 10 when passing through the intersections in this area.

So the cement truck was stationary and then moved and hit the man in the wheelchair.
Phone? Daydreaming? Lighting a cigarette? So called blind spot?
No excuse whatsoever for this.

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Voting closed 15

Or just trolling?

Anyone who has walked by or driven through a busy intersection with a panhandler knows how the panhandler will approach stopped vehicles one by one asking for money. When I'm driving it's scary because I don't want to hit them. When I'm walking by it's scary because I don't want to see someone hit them.

If you want to go through crazy mental contortions to make the story fit your narrative then be my guest, but I agree with other posters, you sound like a chatbot troll.

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Voting closed 20

Not interested in a flame war. Look elsewhere.

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Voting closed 14

Anyone who has walked by or driven through a busy intersection with a panhandler knows how the panhandler will approach stopped vehicles one by one asking for money.

Anyone who knows how cars work knows that a panhandler approaches the side of the car. They don't stand directly in front of it, six feet or more from the driver or passenger window.

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Voting closed 12

mid-block, not in the cross walk and not around vehicles that were blocking the box. If he was immediately in front of the concrete truck, then the driver could not see him.

People should stop speculating.

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Voting closed 18

… before starting to move again.

You don’t hit the accelerator if you can’t see what’s in front of you.

Duh!

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Voting closed 12

Has completely blinded you to logic and sound reasoning. Take a breath, Lee.

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Voting closed 20

Sorry that logic and sound reasoning have upset your apple cart,
you sensitive thing.
I don’t hate your car or you. I’m sure it’s very pretty.
Take care.

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Voting closed 14

I live in this neighborhood and see people panhandling in the middle of the street despite the fact that the traffic moves at a frightening speed. They wait for the red light and move in between the lanes to get the attention of drivers who have stopped at the light. Everyone who walks regularly to and from Broadway Station in this area has become numb to the hostile environment—the roar and speed of the traffic is particularly fierce. My guess is the man in the wheelchair couldn’t be observed from the truck driver’s high vantage point. If the man in the wheelchair is the same man I saw yesterday, he is very quick and nimble—uses his feet to propel the chair.

Many homeless who are PSI guests spend time in the park that runs alongside what I think is part of the Ft. Point Channel and Frontage Road.

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Voting closed 29

Who do very dangerous things, are obvious mentally unstable. They should not be on the streets period. People who can't care for themselves, can't function at the minimal level expected for a reasonably responsible adult, may be a danger to others, should not be on the streets period. There's no reason clean, safe facilities to house them, by force if necessary, with court approval,should exist. Why don't they exist? This is crazy. It's not due to poor funding. And inhouse mental health facilities for those committed by a court (laws need to be changed, deinstitutionalization has been a tragedy and disaster) need to be built. This is the only sane, humane answer

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Voting closed 9

All fun and games until you are declared to be unfit and forced into "shelter" because you are "deviant".

Please think it through. Then think it through again. And again. And again. Eventually you might get it.

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Voting closed 14

For those questioning the blaming of street design from Streetsblog MA: “According to the MassDOT IMPACT crash database, there have been at least 50 crashes at this intersection since the beginning of 2019, including 14 crashes that injured at least one victim.”

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Voting closed 23

Mandate cab-over semis within the city.

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Voting closed 6