Three children ages 4 months, 23 months and 3 years are safe following a near tragic accident this afternoon on Hosley Avenue, about one quarter mile south of Hemlock Road Extension. The driver of a 1999 silver Iszuz Tropper was not so lucky, sustaining injuries after allegedly sideswiping a family in a black Chevy Tahoe, hitting three to four trees and flipping over into the woods.
Branford Fire and Police departments were dispatched to the scene around 4:30 p.m. to find the driver of the Iszuz, a male approximately 54 years old, (name and town of residence not released at this time) trapped inside the vehicle, which had come to rest on its passenger side after hitting several trees along Hosley Avenue. Branford Fire Department used extrication to remove the victim who was conscious according to police. He sustained lacerations but appeared to be in stable condition and was transported to an area hospital.
The driver of the black Chevy Tahoe, Willie Shanks, said he and his wife Donna Shanks both of Newtown, were visiting brother in-law Joe Viauso who owns Vaiuso Farms when the accident occurred. Viauso was traveling ahead of the family and saw the accident from the rearview mirror of his car. “I looked up in the rearview mirror,” said Viauso, “and saw the vehicle flipping.”
The Shanks were also accompanied by daughter Danielle Holley from Colorado who had three children with her ages, 4 months, 23 months and 3 years. No one in the Tahoe or Viauso’s vehicle were injured. Willie also noted several pedestrians were walking ahead of the accident; they were not present at the scene following the accident nor were they injured.
Willie said he and his family were traveling north on Hosley Avenue when the Iszuz, also traveling north, approached them at a rapid speed from behind. Willie believes the truck was going more than 60 miles per hour. Recognizing that the Iszuz would rear-end his vehicle, Willie said he swerved the car away from a direct collision. “I looked up at the last second and I was able to veer off – it would have been a lot worse.”
Donna called the incident terrifying while holding the 4-month-old baby. Holley, apparently shaken up, was glad her children were safe as their car seats were all on the driver’s side of the car. “He hit us where the kids were,” she said. “It was very frightening.
Police believe after the Iszuz hit the Tahoe, it became airborne and collided with three to four trees on the west side of the roadway before coming to a stop on passenger side of the vehicle. Several trees were spit alongside the car following the accident.
At this time Branford Police are investigating the incident. They believe speed was a factor but have reports from the victim that the car’s accelerator became stuck causing the excessive speed. There is no official report from police at this time.
Hosley Avenue was closed on both north and south directions while R.J. Shore Automotive towed the vehicles and police investigted.