Fatal Pedestrian Accident Prompts Safety Review Of Route 28 In Hyannis
By: James Kinsella
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 5:30 this afternoon to commemorate the life of Jennifer Ann Joseph, a woman seven months pregnant who was struck and fatally injured last Friday on Route 28 in Hyannis.
Ms. Joseph, 32, was returning on foot from the Cape Cod Mall to her home on Hiramar Road in Hyannis at 5:55 PM when the accident occurred, according to Barnstable Police Sergeant Sean Sweeney.
Sgt. Sweeney said three witnesses told police that Ms. Joseph, who was on the north side of Route 28 near the TD Bank branch, stepped directly in front of a westbound automobile.
The automobile was driven by James Poss, 55, of South Yarmouth. Sgt. Sweeney said police do not anticipate citing or filing charges against Mr. Poss.
Sgt. Sweeney said police believe Ms. Joseph had her cell phone out, since the device was found away from her following the accident. Investigators are seeking to determine if Ms. Joseph was making or taking a call or was texting a message when the accident occurred.
Hyannis Fire Rescue transported Ms. Joseph, who was seven months pregnant, to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. She was pronounced dead at the hospital, Sgt. Sweeney said. Hospital workers were unable to save her unborn child, a boy who was to be known as Jonathan Daniel Reed Jr.
Ms. Joseph’s boyfriend, Jonathan Daniel Reed, is the father of the child, according to police.
The couple, who lived on Hiramar Road, also have a 3-year-old daughter, Arianna.
The accident occurred not far from the spot of another fatal car-pedestrian accident about two years earlier.
Mr. Reed has questioned initial police findings that Ms. Joseph might have been distracted and that the driver of the car that struck her was not to blame.
“She was very intelligent and street-smart,” Mr. Reed said Wednesday. “She knew when to cross the road and when not to.
“I feel that the driver of the vehicle also needs to be held responsible, civilly if not criminally,” Mr. Reed said. “I don’t understand why no charges are being filed.”
The facts as he so far has heard them from police do not add up, he said. “There have got to be people who saw what happened,” he said.
Mr. Reed said Wednesday that today’s vigil would be attended by neighbors in the Hiramar Road neighborhood. In addition to commemorating her life, he said the vigil also will be a call for improved pedestrian safety along Route 28.
He said he “absolutely” believes that the government should improve safety on the section of Route 28 near Hiramar Road. Mr. Reed said many people from his neighborhood walk along or cross Route 28 on foot.
The section of Route 28 between the Airport Rotary and the intersection with Bearse’s Way lacks sidewalks. A crosswalk does exist near the Route 28 entrance to the Cape Cod Mall, but Ms. Joseph did not use that crosswalk.
She instead crossed close to Route 28’s intersection with Hiramar Road. The accident occurred after dark.
In the aftermath of last Friday’s accident, Mark S. Ells, Barnstable Director of Public Works, said he got in touch with Bernard McCourt, the Massachusetts highway official who oversees Route 28 and other state highways on Cape Cod.
Mr. Ells said he is in communication with Mr. McCourt, the director of Mass Highway’s District 5, about what can be done to improve the safety of the section of Route 28 where the accident occurred.
Mr. Ells said District 5 officials already have been reviewing sections of Route 28 that may need additional work or modification.
Both Barnstable Town Manager John C. Klimm and Assistant Town Manager Thomas K. Lynch said they walked the site the day after the collision. They spoke Monday about how terrible the accident was.
“Obviously it’s a tragedy,” Mr. Klimm said. “We have asked the police department, the department of public works, and the growth management department if there is anything we can do to make it safer.”
But Mr. Klimm also said that routes 28 and 132 are very busy roads, and that pedestrians need to use crosswalks to get across them.
The town manager said an initial review of the signals controlling the crosswalk at the mall entrance revealed those signals to be working.
“We’ve asked for a review to make sure it is working to specifications,” Mr. Klimm said.
Sgt. Sweeney questioned whether adding sidewalks to the section of Route 28 between the rotary and Bearse’s Way would have prevented last Friday’s accident.
“She still would have stepped off the sidewalk,” he said.
Changes may be coming in any case for the section of Route 28 where Ms. Joseph was fatally injured. Mr. Klimm said the area is part of the town’s joint “Gateway” project with the state, which involves a redesign of the area around the Airport Rotary.
Mr. Reed said Ms. Joseph had gone to the Cape Cod Mall about 5 PM to buy Benadryl to counteract a severe allergy attack. He said she had walked to the mall many times before.They had been in touch via her cell phone, he said.
In her last call, about 5:50 PM, she told him she would be home in a few minutes.
By 6:15 PM, she still had not arrived. Out his kitchen window, Mr. Reed said, he could see “all of these lights and all of these cops” nearby on Route 28.
He went to the road, where he saw Ms. Joseph’s shoes on the ground. He knew right then why she had not come home.
Police told him that she had been struck by a vehicle and had been taken to the hospital. A police officer drove Mr. Reed there.
“I had a terrible feeling,” Mr. Reed said.
But because she had overcome many obstacles in her life, he also thought she would be fine.
Mr. Reed then learned that both she and their unborn child had died.
Ms. Joseph, a lifetime resident of the Cape, was born at Cape Cod Hospital. She spent her earliest years in Truro and later moved to Wellfleet. She attended Nauset Regional High School and graduated in 1996.
Ms. Joseph, according to her obituary, adored being a mother. She loved living near the ocean and spending time with her boyfriend, family, and many friends. Besides Mr. Reed and their 3-year-old daughter Arianna, Ms. Joseph’s survivors include her parents, Arthur Francis Joseph and Jody Ann Joseph of Wellfleet; her grandmother, Joanne Coats of Brewster, two sisters, Kathryn Nelson of Utica, New York, and Sarah Bryan and her husband Robert Bryan of Eastham; a brother, Jesse Joseph and his wife, and Danielle Joseph of Brewster.
Visiting hours are scheduled from 4 to 7 PM Sunday at Nickerson Funeral Home in Orleans.Her funeral service will be held at 11 AM Monday at the Brewster Bible Alliance Church on Route 6A in Brewster.
Laura M. Reckford contributed to this article.
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