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, [email protected]