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Bad road conditions blamed for serious motorcycle accident

Bad road conditions blamed for serious motorcycle accident
By Cristina Kumka
KILLINGTON — A 65-year-old motorcyclist suffered severe injuries Saturday, Aug. 30, when he hit a large bump in Killington Road and lost control of his bike.
The incident occurred at around 7 p.m., according to Lieutenant Charles J. Cacciatore of the Vermont State Police.
The motorcyclist, later identified as John O’Donnell of Yonkers, N.Y., was riding down the mountain in the northbound lane when he was ejected off the seat of his bike and slid about 10 yards down the road. O’Donnell suffered head trauma and a broken ankle, according to police.
State Police described the road conditions as “ruts, holes and bumps.”
This accident occurred at the height of the well-attended annual Killington Classic Motorcycle rally.
Killington Police Chief Whit Montgomery said it happened a few feet beyond a recently-posted orange sign with the warning “BUMP.”
“I was happy to see that sign Killington (Resort) put up… it’s no secret that road needs attention,” Montgomery said.
A Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) helicopter was called in shortly after the incident due to severity of the man’s injuries, police added.
Montgomery said Tuesday he believed the man was out of intensive care at Dartmouth hospital but did not have an update on his condition.
Gerrie Russell, Economic Development and Tourism Commission member, questioned Killington Resort Sales and Marketing Director Rob Megnin at a meeting Aug. 11, on the condition of upper Killington Road and what the resort was doing to remediate it. Megnin is a member of the EDTC.
Members of the Killington Planning Commission have also questioned the road conditions in recent public meetings. In minutes from the Aug. 13 planning commission meeting, member Walter Linnemayr asked “when the Resort will be paving the upper section of the Killington Road from the Basin Ski Shop to Killington Base Lodge?” He noted that “the pot holes are so deep that soon someone will break an axle.”
Town Planner Dick Horner said that he “received a call from Carol Ault at the Resort Sign Shop asking if they can put a sign up stating ‘Road Repairs Coming Soon’ so he feels that the Resort is planning to pave that section of road in the near future,” according to the minutes.
On Tuesday, the resort issued a statement in light of the weekend accident: “Killington Resort management is aware of a recent accident and defers questions to the Vermont State Police, who we understand are leading the investigation.”
The Resort is preparing a more in-depth statement on the circumstances leading to the accident and a timeline for the planned upcoming work. (Michael Joseph, public relations coordinator, shared that work had been delayed due to other state projects and circumstances beyond their control.) The Resort has also been in tough with O’Donnell and will share details of his recovery, as is appropriate.

Cristina Kumka is a PEGTV reporter and freelance correspondent for The Mountain Times, cristina_kumka@yahoo.com

5 comments on “Bad road conditions blamed for serious motorcycle accident

  1. To me, having pretty much spent half of my adult life at Killington, it is a bit of a sad story now. With hardly any snow this year (18″ base reported today), bad road conditions (reference this story) and the loss of Casey’s Caboose among other things, it is sad. These days, I fly to Utah or Colorado 2-3 times a year, rather than driving 4-5 hours from NY. But the days of Killington past are quite memorable and I want to remember those days well. For the past 5 years, I have brought up the extended family to Killington for Thanksgiving. In all of the years I have come up there for Thanksgiving, there was only one time they were closed for skiing. The snowmakers do one hell of a job! I can’t help but find the area depressing now, and have felt this way for better than 6 years. A rough economy was not helpful. I have moved on from the big K, but I do wish it well. Thanks for the memories.

  2. who owns the road, the , resort, the town or the state? With the property taxes brought in by the town because of the ski season only homeowners they should have plenty to fix up local roads. But they spread it out to the rest of the state.
    So the town and the state are to blame for the accident. Fix that many years old bump, it is a discrace to own a home here and even worse to take money for a motorcycle event and then leave the main road protected with a sign.

    1. that piece of the road is maintained by Killington resort, not the town and not the state. the town has been questioning the “quality” of that piece of road for months.

  3. I only get up to K-ton several times a year but reading this, I know exactly where it happened. To call it a “bump” is a gross understatement. The first time I hit it, scared the hell out of me & hurt. Although I would have thought it would have been repaired, it has not. No matter how much you slow down, it’s vicious. When the road is snow covered, it’s impossible to see. I can’t imagine hitting that “bump” on a motorcycle. Thoughts & prayers for recovery to the rider.

  4. Heard about this accident earlier this week (think everyone in the area did) and send get well wishes out to the injured rider. We live locally year round and were out on our motorcycle that same day and rode over the same spot, er “bump.” On one of the largest Harleys they make, saw the sign, and slowed down to about 15 mph when we hit it. Nearly bottomed out the bike and crunched my spine so bad I screamed. Coming back down the Access Road we went even slower over the same spot but it still jarred us quiet badly. After our experience my husband predicted someone was going to get seriously hurt there by the end of the weekend and unfortunately he was right. Calling it “a bump” was misleading to say the least. Not to mention all the road work being done up and down the road that left four-foot wide strips of gravel across the entire road — think we counted four or five of those — and no signs indicating such. Hitting that in the dark on a bike could also have been disastrous.

    Riding through Killington last weekend all I could think of was how much money the event brings in to the area, how Killington claims they want to be a four-season attraction and the poor and embarrassing effort made by the town to get that road ready and safe for drivers and riders. Who wants to take a bet that the Motorcycle event will be cancelled next year? If so it would join a long list of other activities that “used to” take place here.

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