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Long Island Leaders Call For Changes To Dangerous Intersection On Montauk Highway

LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Local leaders in Lindenhurst are calling for something to be done to slow speeding drivers along Montauk Highway.

As TV 10/55's Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, the renewed call for greater safety measures comes on the heels of an accident that badly injured a 10-year-old boy.

On June 14, 10-year-old John Johnson and his family got stuck in the middle of a pedestrian walkway on Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst.

As the nearest vehicles started to slow, the young boy suddenly darted out into the road and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The boy was sent flying 15 feet in the air before he landed on the sidewalk.

"I knew it was going to happen," said Michael Vuraldor.

Vuraldor, an electronics vendor, said there have been so many accidents at the intersection outside his store that he moved his surveillance cameras to directly show the pedestrian walkway.

There are no traffic lights at the pedestrian cross walk. A warning sign is just 150 feet from the intersection following a bend on the highway, Rose reported.

"From either direction, you can't see the corners at 13th and 9th streets until you pass that bend," said Lindenhurst resident Meg Meggiotta.

Meggiotta, a long-time resident, said there have been at least four deaths since the road was widened to five lanes about 20 years ago.

"We almost lost a young boy trying to cross this road, which is very difficult. How many people have to die before something is done?" said Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffery (R-Lindenhurst).

McCaffery wants the state Department of Transportation to eliminate one lane in each direction.

Pedestrian advocates said the lanes should at least be modified.

"Narrower lanes, well-designed medians, a number of things which makes the road seem narrower, which makes drivers more diligent and cautious," said Elissa Kyle of Vision Long Island.

State highway managers told Rose they will soon meet with village officials to find ways to prevent future tragedies.

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