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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Published: August 01, 2008 06:01 am ShareThisPrintThis
Just turned 22, he'd dreamed of a motorcycle
By Chris Cassidy
Staff writer

SALEM - Since he was a kid, Anthony Espinal had dreamed of owning his own bike someday.
"He always wanted a motorcycle," Amy Velardi said. "He always said that when he got enough money he was going to buy one."
Espinal followed through on that promise earlier this summer when he bought a 2008 yellow and black Suzuki and got his learner's permit.
Yesterday morning, Espinal's friends and family lit candles and laid flowers near the dangerous curve on Lafayette Street where Espinal lost his life in a violent motorcycle crash Wednesday night. He had turned 22 just 10 days ago. Police say Espinal was trying to flee an officer and that speed and inexperience were the major factors in the crash.
Family members said they don't know why Espinal would take off from police.
"I have no idea what happened," said Yliana Espinal, Anthony's cousin. "I've heard so many stories, I have no idea what happened. I still can't believe it."
Circumstances aside, those who knew Anthony said he loved his family and treated others with respect.
"I think people will remember what a good, friendly kid he was," said Velardi, whose daughter was good friends with Espinal. "He was always helping people. ... When my mom was sick, he'd offer to give her a ride or carry stuff or help her sit down. He was just a good kid."
Anthony Espinal attended Salem High School and was taking classes at North Shore Community College. For the past few summers he had worked at Kernwood Country Club busing tables.
"He was always happy," Yliana Espinal said. "He always had a smile on his face. He was a chatterbox. He just knew how to light up a room and make everybody laugh."
He also came from a large family on the North Shore, particularly Salem and Peabody. He had more than a dozen aunts and uncles and more than 40 cousins.
"He lived for his family," Yliana Espinal said. "He had a big heart, and I'm going to miss him so much."
Staff writer Chris Cassidy can be reached at [email protected].

528 Posts
You should go to Salemevening news website and read all the friends and familys posts trying to blame everyone,the police ,the town except the person responsible..
I don't have to because it is probably the same old things being said that have been said in the past when this happens. Once again, nobody wants to blame the person running from the police

Subscribing Member
559 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Published: August 01, 2008 11:51 pm ShareThisPrintThis
Salem crashes lead to call for changes
By Chris Cassidy
Staff writer

SALEM - Catherine Leventis found out first thing Thursday morning that another life had been lost in a crash along a dangerous curve on Lafayette Street.
"My husband said, 'Another mother's crying.' I said, 'Yes, for the rest of her life,'" Leventis said yesterday. "It's heartbreaking. It really is. I feel bad for his family, because I know they're going to be in shock for a while. And it's going to be awhile before it all sinks in."
It's been just over a year since Leventis' own son, Zack, died after he lost control of his black Saturn and slammed into a telephone pole along the same dangerous stretch. He was 18 years old and just one month away from graduating Salem High School.
"I still cry for him every day," Leventis said. "We miss him terribly. Every family event we have to go to is hard because he's not there with us. It's very difficult to look around and know he's not there."
Now there are two roadside memorials along the dangerous turn. This week, friends and family of Anthony Espinal have been leaving flowers and candles by a telephone pole where the 22-year-old Peabody man died in a motorcycle crash Wednesday night.
Espinal was fleeing from an officer, who had tried to pull him over for a traffic violation, when he struck a telephone pole and a stone seawall, police said.
He was driving with a learner's permit, which prohibited him from driving after dark, police said.
After the second fatal accident in 14 months, neighbors said they want to see changes.
"Enough is enough," said Diane Hamlen, a Lafayette Street neighbor. "This whole road is going to be nothing but crosses and shrines and candles unless we start taking action."
Five years ago, a box truck lost control while rounding the curve, became airborne and crashed into Hamlen's porch.
"No one drives the speed limit," Hamlen said. "No one. There are so many close calls."
Ironically, city officials had met with engineers earlier this week - just days before the latest crash - to brainstorm ways to improve the curve, City Councilor Joseph O'Keefe said.
"We're working on it," O'Keefe said. "... God forbid, I'm afraid it's going to happen again until we do something about it."
Last year, the city hired an engineering firm to look at ways to improve the treacherous turn. It came back with recommendations - including narrowing the road - totaling $400,000.
The engineers are expected to report back with a cheaper plan later this year.
The city also tried to install a wooden guardrail along the curve to shield houses and bushes from wayward drivers, but neighbors opposed it, O'Keefe said.
He has also pushed for an electronic speed-limit sign that posts drivers' speeds, he said.
A permanent fix, however, is tricky, city officials said. The road curves to make room for the shoreline, while homes sit on the other side, so straightening the street isn't a viable option.
Hamlen wants police to ramp up enforcement and hand out more speeding tickets.
Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said the department is already short-staffed and officers are stretched thin, often answering service calls back-to-back-to-back.
Speed-limit and other warning signs - including a blinking "Dangerous Curve" sign installed a few years ago - can help, he said.
"You don't want to punish them with tickets," he said. "You want to educate them through awareness."
Reminders of the curve's dangers are easy to find. Roadside memorials to the two fatal accident victims have sprung up.
Pieces of plastic from both a motorcycle and a helmet are scattered on the sidewalk. A battered telephone pole stands dented and splintered.
For Zack Leventis' mother, there are other reminders.
"Every time I hear more than one ambulance or police cruiser, I know something has happened down there," said Leventis, who lives just 600 yards away from both crash sites. "It really makes me sick to my stomach."
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