Sound Off: Safety Improvements for Southern State Parkway

In the wake of the crash that took the lives of two Hempstead residents on the Southern State Parkway in Merrick Sunday morning, motorists are calling for improvements to be made. 

“The southern snake is what I call it. It’s like this. It’s always turns. If you’re not paying attention, boom, you fly right off the road,” Eric Duran told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs. “Something has to be done.”

Kervens Boutin, 30, of Hempstead, was operating a Nissan Maxima westbound on the Southern State Parkway with four passengers when he lost control and struck several trees.  

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Pronounced dead at the scene were passengers Bryan Rivas, 20, and Blossom Castro, 22, both of Hempstead.  

Boutin and another passenger, Marlo Cabrera, 19, of the Bronx, were transported to Nassau University Medical Center, where they remain in the Intensive Care Unit, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

An additional passenger, Antonio Rivas, 22, of Hempstead, was transported to Winthrop Hospital, where hospital officials confirmed he remains in critical condition.

Boutin was charged with Reckless Driving. Additional charges are pending the outcome of the accident investigation. 

“People drive too fast, that’s the problem," North Merrick Resident Charles Latka told CBS. "The 55 mph doesn’t mean anything. [It's] constant, you never go through a weekend where you don’t hear squealing brakes and a crash.”

According to CBS, State police stats show 12 fatalities on that stretch of the Southern State in the last two years and 40 in the last five years.

Do you think changes need to be made to the Southern State Parkway? Tell us in the comments section below.

randy January 29, 2013 at 10:01 AM
the speed needs to be reduced, the curvy winding road cannot sustain speeds in excess of 55mph...............the average speed is 65 or better. If you do 55 in the middle lane they pass you on both sides, you can actually cause more accidents by driving slower because everyone is trying to pass you, and in doing so cutting people off. it really is a mess.
Al January 29, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Oh please....thousands of cars travel that road everyday and nothing happens. But of course when you get someone who's drunk or overtired or just not paying attention to the conditions and there's an accident everyone has a knee jerk reaction. Obviously this guy was going way too fast because cars don't just break in half like this one did at a normal speed. It's a pity though that it's always the passengers who die and the driver lives.
Debbie January 29, 2013 at 11:06 AM
It's called reckless driving cellphones texting cutting off other cars, drivers really could not careless about human life until something of a catastrophic accident hits home will they ever care and time heals all wounds and they are back speeding and driving recklessly
Sean Patrick Brennan January 29, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Station 2 or 3 unmanned (or manned) state police cars around the parkway off hours.
Matthew Hogan January 29, 2013 at 06:11 PM
The parkway is not the problem, it's the drivers on it. More stupid drivers per square foot than any other roadway on Long Island. Most drivers do not understand basic parkway etiquette -- it's scary.
Thomas Nathan January 29, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Bravo Matt - great post
John Dunn January 30, 2013 at 07:20 AM
Upstate on the Taconic Parkway, you will see State Police doing their job, but on Long Island, on the Southern Sate Parkway, you see nothing. Randy's comment is right on target. The situation he describes exists because of failure of police on Long Island to perform their rightful duties. No changes to the parkway infrastructure will be of any use as long as lack of law enforcement remains tha norm.
Al January 30, 2013 at 10:55 AM
I always wondered why the State Police were headquartered by Exit 13 but one hardly ever sees them on the parkway. I do slightly over the limit but cars whiz by me like crazy, easily doing over 70. And heaven forbid someone actually signals a lane change. I'd like to see a little more enforcement as well.
Ralph A. January 30, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Finally something said that I was saying for years. This morning Newsday article "Speed, Impairment Lead Causes SSP Crashes". I didn't read it yet. But the headline says it. On any road I would assume the same. But on the Southern State I always see people speeding by me (and I'm doing 60 mph). These people must be doing at least 70 or better. They'll tailgate and flash their headlights behind me in any lane. Everybody knows that the parkway was build in the day of slower vehicles. But people don't yield to reduced speed (in work areas), the weather, or a slower car ahead of them. As for impairment? I think DWI should stand for Driving While Impaired and cover both drinking and drugs, and forget the DUI's (driving under influence).
David Feldman January 30, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Yes. The road design is terribly obsolete. Also, more and better police patrolling to get the animals off the road.
lucky libra January 31, 2013 at 01:12 PM
i bet if you look at the history of accidents on the parkway, there will be one factor, maybe two that will show up, the age of the driver, the younger generation does not know what the brake pedal is for, and 2, is a group of dreugs, alcohol and TEXTING, just my thoughts !!!!!!
John Dunn January 31, 2013 at 02:08 PM
The causes of road violations are likely as you say, but the situations they cause are the further result of there being little or no law enforcement action on the roadways. If a car is doing 90 mph, why isn't there a police response? Also, although the issue is under discussion here, why isn't it under discussion in venues that may lead to remedies? One these posts have been followed by posts about other topics, there is very likely to have been zero net effect on this topic.
lucky libra January 31, 2013 at 02:36 PM
i made this statement on another site in patch, we were all there once in our lives, but this younger generation knows only the gas pedal. they never learned what the other pedal is for. and yes, DWI, should cover driving while impaired, along with a stiffer penalty than what is on the books now. plea deals regarding DWI should be done away with, espicially if a serious injury or fatality occurs. those who just got their license during the summer, just dont know how to drive in the rain because of lack of experience, but speed has been and will continue to be a major factor in accidents on the parkway
Debbie January 31, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Gentlemen you all have valid points of view, we need for our politicians to step up here and put something that makes sense together to stop drivers from creating accidents due to aggressive driving cutting other drivers off and acting in a careless manor when it comes to cellphones, drugs and alcohol the innocent drivers should not have to pay for this with there lives!
thomas stoerger February 02, 2013 at 10:09 AM
The gentlemen's comment to CBS Radio "If you're not paying attention, boom" how ridiculous should'nt you ALWAYS be paying attention when behind the wheel. There are numerous aeas of the SS Pkwy that have restricted speed limits(ea: Baldwin Rd area both diretions 50 mph etc.) The driver was from Hempstead no doubt heading home and familar with the area roads. At the age of 30, should've been consciencous behind the wheel.


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