by Elijah Coke

Coventry, a quiet suburban town in southern Rhode Island, was rattled by a serious epidemic of disastrous proportions. In the last few weeks there have been over nine people who have passed away in car related accidents. According to WPRI, a local RI news source, the most death was a 19-year-old Coventry resident named Matthew O’Gara. Other individuals who have been affected include 17 year old Coventry resident Andrew Oliveira, and two Massachusetts men who were ejected from their car as they were traveling on I-95. The rising incidents have caused great concern among many RI residents.

WPRI reporters, Shaun Towne and Caroline Goggin, interviewed Colonel Ann Assumpcio who stated, “Effective immediately, I have ordered all members of the Rhode Island State Police to aggressively enforce motor vehicle laws to help prevent such a needless and tragic loss of life” (Towne and Goggin, 2017). Hopefully with the Rhode Island Police strictly enforcing the motor vehicle laws, less accidents will occur and less people will have to mourn the loss of their loved ones.

In the case of Matthew O’Gara, it was a true accident; he was a pedestrian and was fatally hit by a truck on February 12th, 2017. The Providence Journal reported that Matt was walking across Arnold Road around midnight when he was struck by a plow that was attached to a pick-up. Matt was well known around his community and many people were shocked by his death. According to Max Cinquegrana, a past classmate of Matt’s, the death was “unbelievably horrific” and he feels as though, “it was an unfair death and the man who was driving the truck should be punished to the highest extent.” Many other people feel the same. William Fallon, the man who was accused of the accident “was arraigned Thursday on a charge of duty to stop in an accident resulting in death. The judge ordered him held on $20,000 surety bail,” according to WPRI reporter Towne.

The death of Matthew was truly tragic and the problem stems to all of Southern Rhode Island where most of the accidents have occurred. Captain Matthew Moynihan reported to WPRI, “We’re gonna step up enforcement efforts both on traffic enforcement, both on aggressive driving, speeding violations, as well as seatbelt use.” More police officers are being placed in south county as more of the misfortunate events have taken place there. The Police Department is trying to stress that they are not trying to just ticket and fill quotas, but in reality are trying to stop these horrific incidents.

Another Coventry local, Jamison Evans, states “Tomorrow is never promised. Unfortunately for some this is the case. It is our responsibility as a young generation to learn from these tragedies to make better decisions.” He truly believes that even though all of these incidents were saddening, there is a silver lining being that people can learn from the mistakes of others, while also understanding that each day must be lived as though it is one’s last. The overarching problem of driving accidents in the state is trying to come to a close and optimistically wishing that the rise of a police presence and a more conscious society will halt the accidents and less people will have to deal with the loss of their loved ones.