Haverhill City Council Asks for Local and State Suggestions for Route 125 Restaurant Crash Site

Crash at Li’s Fine Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar, 1186 Main St., Haverhill. (Jarvi Productions photograph for WHAV News.)

Haverhill will look at local options such as improved signage and ask the state for help improving a Route 125 intersection where three crashes within two weeks forced the closure of a restaurant there.

Since Feb. 4, three cars have crashed through the front of Li’s Fine Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar, with the most recent causing enough damage to force the closure of the business. City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who once lived near the intersection on Main Street where the crashes occurred, said Tuesday night the increase in population at the state border has inevitably led to traffic issues.

“The growth of the Plaistow, N.H., business community has really added to the traffic in that area, and speed is definitely a factor,” she said.

Early in the morning, Feb. 4, a 2006 Acura driven by Michael A. Jimenez struck the front of the 1186 Main St. restaurant. An accident report said Jimenez encountered black ice. Police added he was traveling at a high rate of speed, “striking a sidewalk causing his vehicle to go airborne.”

Four days later, another driver struck the front of the restaurant around 2 a.m. and was taken by Trinity EMS to Holy Family Hospital for minor injuries. On Feb. 13, 22-year-old Olivia Reyes of Attleboro was arrested about 1:15 in the morning and charged with drunken driving, speeding and negligent driving after also striking the eatery. The restaurant is set back from Route 125 and has a driveway and parking spaces between the highway and building.

Councilors acknowledged that Route 125 is a state road, meaning the city has limited jurisdiction when it comes to addressing problems there. Despite the city’s hands being tied to some extent, O’Brien proposed referring the issue to the Council’s Traffic and Safety Committee to see what can be done locally.

Additionally, Councilor Michael S. McGonagle suggested the Council send a letter to the state explaining the problem and seeking their help with the issue.

The Council voted unanimously to pass the motion.

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