SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 5, 2010

Concrete mixer hits teen

17-year-old in fair condition after being struck while crossing street

By Matthew K. Roy

DANVERS — A Danvers teen suffered a broken pelvis when a concrete-mixing truck struck him as he was crossing Route 62 yesterday morning.

Mike Philbrook, 17, was on his way to a school bus stop around 7:20 a.m. when he was hit near the intersection of Route 62, also known as Maple Street, and Burley Avenue. He appears to have been in a crosswalk, based on evidence gathered at the scene, police Sgt. Robert Bettencourt said.

Philbrook is a junior at North Shore Technical High School in Middleton, a regional school that draws students from 16 North Shore communities. He is enrolled in the school's masonry program.

A spokesman for Massachusetts General Hospital said Philbrook was in fair condition. A gash on his head required stitches, but other than that, he escaped without any serious head injuries, said Dan O'Connell, North Shore Tech's superintendent. O'Connell learned of his status by talking to Philbrook's father and stepmother on the phone.

Philbrook also made it through the collision with no other broken bones. He was expected to have surgery last night or this morning, O'Connell said.

"He's in good spirits even though he is in intensive care," O'Connell said, relaying information offered by his parents. They said that Philbrook was walking in the crosswalk, he said.

The truck was heading east on Route 62 toward downtown Danvers. Police are investigating whether solar glare or speed were contributing factors, Bettencourt said.

As of yesterday, no charges had been filed against the driver of the truck, Ronald Olsen, 62, of 43 Adams Ave., Seabrook, N.H. Bettencourt expected that investigators would not finish their work and determine whether charges are necessary until next week.

"The operator of the vehicle was quite upset," Bettencourt said. "He was distraught."

Ann Dufresne, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, said Olsen's driving history was not available because he is from New Hampshire. A spokesman for the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles could not be reached.

Adams was driving for Benevento Concrete Corp. out of Georgetown and Wilmington. Charles Benevento, the company's president, declined to comment on the accident because of the ongoing investigation. But he did express sympathy for Philbrook.

"At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with this young man and his family," Benevento said.

There was no crossing guard in the crosswalk at the time of the accident. A guard arrives later in the morning to help middle and elementary students cross, Bettencourt said.

Philbrook lives on Route 62 (Maple Street), Bettencourt said. Though heavily traveled, the area where he was hit has not seen a high number of traffic or pedestrian accidents. Bettencourt described it as "below average for (number of) incidents." A pedestrian has not been involved in an incident in at least 10 years there, according to police records.

At North Shore Tech, the school's 450 students were informed of the accident during class assemblies. The assemblies happened to be scheduled to introduce Mary Kroesser as the school's interim principal, O'Connell said. Parents were alerted via a recorded phone message, and counselors were on hand for students and staff, he said.

"There is a lot of anxiety waiting for a good report," O'Connell said early yesterday, before he had received an update from Philbrook's parents.

Jeff Friend, father of Philbrook's girlfriend, said he set up a relief fund to help defray medical and travel costs incurred by the Philbrook family. Donations can be made to the Mike Philbrook Jr. fund at TD Bank, Friend said.

"(Mike) is a great kid," he said.

Want to donate?

For more information on how to donate, contact Jeff Friend at j.friend@comcast.net or 978-766-8067.