‘The city could have prevented this.’ Milford family asked for guardrail before SUV crashed into home
Carol and Paul Clarizio have lived in their home on Pond Point Avenue for 24 years, but it’s unclear if they ever will again.
“I think it's affected all of us tremendously, and I get angry because the city could have prevented this,” Carol Clarizio told News 12.
On Friday morning, they were back picking up a few things. The Clarizios and their four kids haven’t been able to stay there since Nov. 18 when an SUV slammed into the home, shifting it off the foundation and making it uninhabitable. It happened while the couple was at a friend’s house. Around 8:15 p.m., they got a call from their 22-year-old son who was watching his three younger siblings.
“He just told my husband, ‘You've got to come home right now. It happened again,’” recalled Carol Clarizio. “And then said, ‘But it hit the house?!’"
The family had been through this before. In fact, there were three other crashes on their property at night—one in 2011 and two in 2018. Their home is right by where Yale Avenue merges into Pond Point Avenue at a “Y” intersection.
“They all came down Yale Avenue, all went through the stop sign,” explained Paul Clarizio, adding that in each, the driver failed to negotiate the curve and drove straight onto his neighbor’s property and into the Clarizios’ driveway, smashing their cars. “We didn't feel safe in our own home. After accident No. 3, I went to the mayor's office and met with the assistant to the mayor at that time. I showed him all the accident reports, and I made a request for a guardrail.”
That request triggered a recommendation for a traffic study of the Yale Avenue-Pond Point Avenue intersection, which was unanimously approved by the police commission, according to meeting minutes. But a guardrail never followed. Paul Clarizio said it was later denied.
“I was asking for a guardrail along my neighbor's property where all the cars were coming in because as I explained when I met with the assistant to the mayor, the probability of another car coming in and hitting my cars or my house or killing one of us is probably 100%,” Paul Clarizio explained.
The crash last month unfortunately proved him right.
“I’m frustrated,” Carol Clarizio stated. “This was foreseeable.”
According to the police report on the crash, the driver had to be extricated and went to the hospital with cuts to his face and arm. He also admitted he was drinking, and first responders found nips in the SUV, the report said. But according to online court records, the driver hasn’t been charged at this point. News 12 reached out to Milford police for an update on their investigation but did not hear back yet.
The Clarizios’ kids luckily weren't physically hurt in the incident, but they’ve had a hard time. Carol Clarizio said her 11-year-old son is having reoccurring trauma after the crash, and her daughter, who has special needs, doesn’t understand why she can’t go home.
“We both feel like this didn't have to happen,” Paul Clarizio stated. “We didn't have to spend our holidays—one in a hotel and one moving into a house.”
A few days after the crash, Paul Clarizio got a call from Richard Smith, chair of the police commission.
“He called just expressing his concern about what happened to us. I then told him my story of the multiple accidents that have occurred on our property, the request for a guardrail, the denial of a guardrail. He promised me we would get a guardrail in this spot,” Paul Clarizio told News 12.
While they wait to see if that happens, the city has put up reflectors in the area though the Clarizios don't think that'll help.
They said it's still unclear whether their house can be repaired or if it'll have to be knocked down and rebuilt, but they expect to be out for at least a year.
"A lot of people have asked us, ‘Why don't you just leave?’ And I don't know. It didn't occur to either one of us to just up and leave," Paul Clarizio said.
“It's our home,” Carol Clarizio added. “We've been here since 1999. We started our life here. We want to stay.”