Woonsocket man creates petition to make intersection safer after friend is killed in motorcycle crash

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – After his friend was killed in a motorcycle crash earlier this month, a Woonsocket man has created a petition to get city and state leaders to make the intersection where the accident happened safer.

Just three weeks after getting his first motorcycle, 26-year-old John Blain was riding down Diamond Hill Road in Woonsocket on June 7, when he collided with an SUV that pulled out of Walnut Hill Road in front of him.

Blain died as a result of the crash, and his passenger was seriously injured. 72-year-old Jeanne Fortier was cited for failing to yield the right of way.

“His smile lit up a room, his laugh… everybody knew his laugh. He was a giant teddy bear. Just a giant ball of fun,” said Blain’s friend, John Lussier.

Lussier believes the design of the intersection is partly to blame. A four-foot wall, owned by an apartment complex, is obstructing the view of oncoming traffic. He created a petition to get it taken down, and as of Friday, it has over 750 signatures.

“If not the wall, then to put a sensored light. So either or I’d be satisfied with.”

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) said their records show seven crashes at that intersection, including Blain’s, in the last five years. RIDOT said Woonsocket Police previously said 98 accidents have occured there since 2015, but said that figure includes accidents linked to a nearby shopping plaza and is not specific to this intersection.

But at least two of the seven crashes have been fatal, as there’s another memorial next to Blain’s from a crash that took the lives of three in the 1980s.

“How many memorials are gonna have to be on that corner for them to actually do something?”

Blain’s friends are planning to hold a memorial motorcycle ride in his honor. They’ll also create a scholarship in his name at Woonsocket Vocational Tech where he went to school to be an electrician.

“There’s a group of us, five of us, that have been working together, you know, doing the petition, shirts, stickers. John’s legacy will go as long as we let it go,” said Lussier.

But the way they hope to honor his memory best is by making the intersection safer.

“We don’t want nobody to forget about John. We don’t want any other families to go through what we went through. So I’m trying to prevent that.”

A spokesperson for RIDOT said they are aware of the petition, and sent the following statement:

RIDOT regularly receives information on crashes from all police departments in Rhode Island and that information is constantly evaluated. This intersection will be part of that review process, and is underway.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island, Woonsocket