Driver won’t be charged in accident that killed Northampton cyclist

  • A 78-year-old Florence man was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike near the intersection of Nonotuck and Hinkley Streets around 3:05 p.m. Monday, May 15, 2017.

@amandadrane
Published: 5/31/2017 7:20:58 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Officials confirmed Wednesday they will not seek charges against the driver in a May 15 crash that claimed a city cyclist’s life.

Maicky Rivera, 39, of Holyoke, left work at Chemiplastica Inc., shortly after 3 p.m. He was driving a gray Toyota Highlander east on Nonotuck Street when he struck Alan Porter, 78, who was crossing Nonotuck from Hinckley Street. A Northampton Police Department investigation concluded Rivera was going about 36 mph when he struck Porter.

Porter, who was pronounced dead at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, was not wearing a helmet.

“This report was not able to state with certainty if the collision would have taken place if Rivera was traveling 30 mph at the time of the collision,” the police report states.

A group of Nonotuck Street residents have worked for about two years to calm traffic along the stretch dubbed “the Florence highway.” The city responded to their advocacy by conducting a traffic study completed earlier this year, which found drivers regularly exceed the 30 mph speed limit on Nonotuck Street by an average of 10 to 12 mph.

A day after the crash, the city’s Transportation and Parking Commission approved traffic-calming mechanisms — two speed bumps and a raised crosswalk — recommended by the DPW as a result of the study. Rick Haggerty, a 20-year resident of the street, told the Gazette after the crash that speeding has been a “constant battle.”

But police found there were other factors that led to the seriousness of the crash. Porter wasn’t wearing a helmet, and police photos show a large crater in the windshield from where his head hit the glass.

According to police records, Rivera said on scene it appeared Porter didn’t stop at the stop sign at Hinckley Street before entering Nonotuck. He told police it appeared Porter was traveling “straight across the roadway.” The driver told officers he tried to stop, and he didn’t see the cyclist before he entered the intersection because of plants and a home located at the westerly corner of the two streets.  

Police records show Porter was lying in the westbound lane of Nonotuck when they arrived on scene. He was “conscious but unresponsive,” according to police narratives, and blood pooled from the back of his head.

Emergency responders took Porter to Baystate Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries. Porter previously suffered a brain bleed about six years ago and a portion of his skull was subsequently removed, police records show. He was also hard of hearing.

A lifelong Northampton resident, Porter is survived by his wife, Joyce, two sons and two grandchildren.

The investigation found no evidence drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash, and Rivera did not have a cellphone in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Residents of the neighborhood say visibility is an issue along the stretch, compounding the damage that can be done with increased speed.

“Our advocacy will continue until the entire length of this street is calmed,” Alex Papouchis said last week. “We’re still poised to have another serious accident at another one of these spots.”

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@gazettenet.com.




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