On Tuesday, July 10 at 8:36 a.m. a vehicle traveling through town on Route 2A/Great Road headed toward Ayer veered over the solid white “fog line” on the right-hand side of the road and collided with a construction vehicle parked on the roadside by 92 Great Road.
Police Chief J. Gregory Massak said the parked and unoccupied vehicle was a dump truck that belonged to a firm doing some work for the homeowners at that address. The truck was parked well off the road on the far side of the fog line, he said.
The driver blamed the sun for the crash. He stated that he was momentarily blinded by solar glare, Massak said, noting a phenomenon commonly referred to as “foxfire.” The man said he didn’t see the parked truck in time to avoid slamming into it.
The moving vehicle sustained damage — including a flat tire on the passenger side — but the truck apparently did not, he said.
The elderly driver was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, but he seemed more shaken than hurt, Massak continued. A family member who was a passenger in the vehicle was not injured.
The driver was not cited.
Frost Street issue resolved
Selectmen settled the Frost Street issue at their recent meeting.
A travel restriction that raised concerns and caused confusion is specific now, not general.
New signs, strategically posted, will show that the area behind the police station is off limits to through traffic rather than the entire stretch of roadway, and that access to Frost Street via Hospital Road — or vice versa — is prohibited for all but police vehicles.
In short, it can’t be used as a cut-through any more.
Vehicles can enter Frost Street from Front Street by Briarwood Trailer Park to park behind Town Hall, however.
As Police Chief J. Gregory Massak explained at the time, the intent was never to deny access for that purpose.
Asked later if, all things considered, it was a better choice for most folks to turn onto Hospital Road directly from Front Street by the middle school, Massak said it seems that way to him for a variety of reasons, including better visibility.
Unlike the narrow corridor that loops behind the buildings, the intersection is wide and both roadways are straight, with open sight lines in both directions. Frost Street, however, is a narrow loop, use of which runs the risk of parking lot-type fender benders as vehicles pull out into the travel lane or collisions between vehicles coming and going.
And the direct route avoids anyone inadvertently ending up behind the police station.
Anyway, the issue has been settled, albeit too late for a driver who protested a traffic ticket issued for that reason, with a fine.
The driver complained to Selectman Andy Deveau, who publicly asked Massak to “forgive” the ticket. Citing a “no fix” statute, the chief said that’s not possible.
The driver has filed an appeal, which given the circumstances is likely to succeed in traffic court, the police chief said. In which case the fine goes away.
Out of some 15 traffic citations issued to drivers on Frost Street in the recent past, this is the only one he can recall that involved a fine, Massak later said.
Scam calls reported
Two log entries listed as thefts did not turn out that way, but they could have.
On the morning of Wednesday, July 4, at 9:34 and 10:08, a resident of Tolman Avenue and a resident of Page Street, respectively, called to report separate but similar incidents.
In each of the cases, the reporting party received a phone call claiming to be from a utility company calling about a bill and asking for personal information.
Fortunately, neither of the residents gave out the information the bogus caller asked for.
It was a scam, Police Chief J. Gregory Massak said, noting that seniors are often targeted by scams such as this and that many elderly residents live in the village area in which Page and Tolman are located.
These folks did the right thing, he said.
He cautioned residents never to give out personal information — such as Social Security or credit card numbers – — over the phone unless they initiate the call and are certain who it is they are talking to.
Variations on the theme include callers claiming to be a relative and asking for money.
Residents report items stolen from homes
It was another story with a couple of breaking and entering thefts over the last couple weeks in different parts of town. In those cases, thieves made off with residents’ property.
In one of the incidents, on Thursday, June 2, a Morse Circle resident reported he had returned home at about 5:30 p.m. to find items missing form his home, including an iPad, an expensive watch and cash. The police report states that a screen was found outside, apparently removed from a window. But the window was not open.
In a separate incident on Tuesday, July 10, a Squannacook Road home was burglarized in a manner reminiscent of a string of “smash and grab” residential burglaries in Shirley and other area towns a few months ago, Chief Massak said. Most were in the daytime.
As in the earlier cases, the front door was kicked in and jewelry was stolen.
It happened sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m, he said.
The loss estimate was over $1,000, Massak said. But it was not clear if that was the value of the missing jewelry alone or included the damaged door.