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January 20, 2014

A matter of safety

Couple crusading for improvements at dangerous intersection

DANVERS — In the Packowski family, the bottom of Village Drive where a stop sign sits is known simply as “the spot.”

For years, John and Kelly Packowski of Middleton have been trying to improve a treacherous intersection at Village Drive and Ferncroft Road in Danvers, near the border with Middleton. The matter is complicated because the part of Village Drive where the stop sign sits is privately owned — but not by the nearby hotel, which uses it as its main access road.

Then their son was involved in an accident, when the car he was riding in was broadsided.

“I called him,” Kelly Packowski said, recalling the conversation:

“Mum, I’ve been in an accident.”

“Where are you?”

“The spot.”

“I knew exactly what he was talking about,” she said.

Both vehicles were totaled, and their son, who was a passenger in the car, had to crawl out the driver’s side. The impact had spun the car around twice before it landed on the grass by the side of the road. Their son had a concussion and a bruise on his face from the air bag, but everyone escaped serious injury.

“To have this happen to our son, considering we tried literally for years to get this made safer,” Kelly Packowski said, was beyond frustrating.

“I’m speaking as a mother — not as a selectman, not as a GM of a hotel, not as the police,” she said. “I’m speaking as a mother for this to be made safer for our kids, for our community.”

Over the years, Village Drive has evolved from an access road to a resort hotel to an increasingly busy street, with a number of developments in the area, including the expansion of North Shore Community College’s commuter campus, construction of the CoCo Key Water Resort, large condominium developments, a commercial office complex and the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore Hotel.

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