A Marion Road accident has left Mason Hendricks, 24, with severe injuries, after a car hit him while he was trying to cross the street on Friday, Dec. 8.
In the days following the accident, signs have gone up at the crosswalk to improve its visibility. “It’s not a complete resolution, but it’s a start,” said Jody Santagate, Hendricks’ mother.
The accident occurred on Marion Road, at the crosswalk near the intersection of Marion Road and Swifts Beach Road. The crosswalk has a history of pedestrian accidents, dating back at least to 2019.
Hendricks had gone on a walk “to clear his mind” while studying for college finals, said Santagate. He crossed Marion Road safely at the crosswalk near Shaws, which has traffic lights and a crossing signal, then tried to cross again at the crosswalk near Marion Road and Swifts Beach, which does not.
Several cars stopped to let Hendricks and a bicyclist cross the street, but another car approached the intersection at speed, said Santagate. “My son was struck by a vehicle I’m told […] was going likely 45 to 50 miles per hour.”
First responders arrived at the scene of the accident at approximately 5:17 p.m., according to the Wareham Police Department.
Hendricks was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, then transfered to Beth Israel in Boston. He’s alive, and has no spinal damage, but has a long list of injuries, including twelve staples in his head, eight broken ribs and a kidney tear, Santagate said.
Hendricks said he is grateful to be alive and grateful for those who stayed with him at the accident until help arrived. “I am here and I appreciate every day God gives me with my daughter Gigi.”
The driver of the car was out of Mattapoisett, and was cited for a crosswalk violation, said the Wareham Police Department.
The accident highlights a lack of safety features at that intersection, Santagate said, adding she began contacting state and local officials after the accident, trying to get them installed.
“When we have local residents [and] families utilizing that crosswalk countless times a day, it’s a local priority to voice to push [for], at the very least, a clearly marked crosswalk with signage indicating there is a crosswalk there,” said Santagate.
Since the accident, several signs have gone up indicating there’s a crosswalk at that location, including yellow crossing signs and a temporary flashing sign that reads “Pedestrian crosswalk, slow down,” said Santagate.
The Wareham Police Department said the road is part of the Route 6 corridor, overseen by state government, so any improvements to that road would come from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Select Board member Alan Slavin disputes Santagate’s efforts at advocacy, claiming it was his connections to the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District and his calls to the municipal maintenance and police departments that brought about the changes.
He said, following his calls, “The chief was able to [move] one of our mobile illuminated signs to the site and was looking to find a second one.”
He added in recent years, the town has been working with the state to make improvements to this section of Route 6.
In a meeting held in June, the Department of Transportation presented its plan, which was set to be submitted by the end of the year in hopes construction would begin by winter 2024. However, the state has delayed the work in order to conduct another traffic study, according to Slavin.
The Swifts Beach Road traffic light and cross walk have been separated from the overall Route 6 project and will be ready for bid in early 2025, Slavin said.
He added the bridge on the Marion Wareham line is being replaced in that same time frame.