Petition Calls For Stoplight Following Fatal Crash With School Bus In Hudson Valley

An area woman who was engaged to be married to a dump truck driver who was recently killed in a vehicle crash with a school bus has started a petition to have a stoplight installed at the intersection where the crash occurred.

Jeffrey R. Begreen

Jeffrey R. Begreen

Photo Credit: Change,org

Krista Smith said the intersection located at Route 9W and Malden Turnpike in Saugerties in Ulster County, is one of the most dangerous in the county and is asking the state Department of Transportation to install a traffic light.

"Jeff was taken in the prime of his life because of the oversight by state and local DOT," Smith said. "His death was 100-percent preventable. We need a light at this intersection!"

The crash took place around 8:50 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, involving a school bus and dump truck, driven by Jeffrey R. Begreen, age 35, of Saugerties.

According to an investigation conducted by members from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police determined that Janos Koka, 53, of Tannersville, was attempting to pull out onto Route 9W from Malden Turnpike in his 2020 Nissan Rogue. 

A 2016 International dump truck operated by Begreen was traveling southbound on Route 9W when he swerved to avoid the 2020 Nissan Rogue in his lane of traffic. 

When Begreen swerved to avoid contact with the 2020 Nissan Rogue, it put him in the path of an oncoming school bus, which he then also swerved to avoid, causing the dump truck to strike a utility pole and overturn onto its driver's side. 

The dump truck then slid down the roadway in the opposite lane of traffic, striking the First Student school bus traveling northbound, which was operated by Brenda J. Oster, 63, of Mount Marion. 

Begreen suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Oster was transported to the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley Hospital Broadway Campus with minor injuries.

"He had an infectious laugh and a million-watt smile to match his incredible personality. His death has left a permanent hole in our lives," said Smith said.

Smith said if there had there been a stoplight, the other driver would have never creeped out into oncoming traffic, and Begreen would be alive today. 

To date, the petition has more than 1,000 signatures. 

Smith is hoping to get as many as possible to encourage DOT to install the stoplight. 

"For years the NY State Department of Transportation, the Town of Saugerties, and Ulster County have been asked to put a stoplight at this intersection," the petition says. "Time after time they have neglected to do so and their oversight led to this tragic accident. Enough is enough! It's time to put up a traffic light! "

To sign the petition, click here. 

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