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Motorcyclist In Critical Condition Following I-84 Crash



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Motorcyclist In Critical Condition

 Following I-84 Crash

By Andrew Gorosko

A motorcycle accident on eastbound Interstate 84 on the afternoon of Sunday, May 1, critically injured the motorcyclist, and caused lengthy travel delays as state police investigated at the accident scene.

Motorcyclist Peter Ghent, 40, of 2 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Sandy Hook, received internal injuries, as well as serious head injuries, in the accident, state police said.

Ghent was listed in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Danbury Hospital on the morning of Thursday, May 5, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

As state police were collecting evidence at the accident scene on May 1, eastbound I-84 traffic reportedly backed up as far west as the New York state border.

In seeking alternate routes, motorists exited the highway, but found themselves in other traffic jams on adjacent roadways among other motorists who were already seeking alternate routes. The traffic tie-ups on the interstate and adjacent roads lasted for several hours.

The accident occurred about one mile east of eastbound I-84’s Exit 11 on-ramp. The crash site was west of the Bancroft Road overpass.

State police said a 1999 Plymouth Voyager minivan driven by Cathlene Ruff, 41, of Enfield was traveling eastward in the high speed lane at about 2:12 pm when the minivan slowed for some slowing traffic ahead of it.

The minivan carried passengers Bryan Ruff, 17; Shane Ruff, 10; Matthew Bruton, 17; and Katelyn Moule, 18, all of Enfield, state police said. The people in the minivan were wearing seatbelts and were not injured in the accident, state police said.

Ghent, who was driving a 2003 Harley-Davidson XL-1200-C eastward on the highway, skidded and then collided with the rear end of the minivan, state police said. The motorcycle left skid-mark evidence on the pavement, said state police Sergeant Tim Osika.

After the impact, Ghent lost control of the motorcycle and was thrown from it, state police said. Ghent was apparently not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, Sgt Osika said. The motorcycle received heavy damage from the impact.

After state police arrived on the scene, it was evident that Ghent had received “very serious injuries,” the sergeant said. Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps transported Ghent to Danbury Hospital for treatment of injuries.

Sandy Hook volunteer firefighters were dispatched to the scene to isolate some gasoline that had spilled from the motorcycle, Sgt Osika said.

Sgt Osika said it is unclear how fast the motorcycle was traveling when it struck the minivan. Based on evidence collected at the scene, plus interviews, state police will determine the cause of the accident, he said.

State police photographed the crash scene after the collision, resulting in the closure of I-84’s two eastbound lanes in that area. Eastbound traffic was thus diverted onto the right road shoulder away from the investigation site, after which that traffic was returned to the normal travel lanes.

Sgt Osika said he expects the accident investigation will take several weeks.

The accident occurred during clear conditions and in moderate traffic, state police said.

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