Road 140 from New Bedford to Taunton strewn with dead

NEW BEDFORD – Is Route 140 Cursed?

The nearly 108 mile stretch of highway that begins in New Bedford and ends all the way north at Winchendon has a long history of fatal car and motorcycle accidents, car fires, attempted suicide and to be the site where at least three of the New Bedford highway killings victims were found.

The focus of this story is that part of the highway that begins at Route 6 in New Bedford and heads north through Freetown, Lakeville and into Taunton.

Handmade crosses on both sides of the highway serve as a memorial where a loved one was killed in a fatal accident. The base of some of these crosses is surrounded by plastic flowers, deflated birthday balloons, angel figurines and empty beer bottles and pinches serving as remembrance toasts.

Crosses mark fatal accidents in Lakeville

The Iron Cross on Route 140 North in Lakeville marks the spot where Adam Luis Rivera was killed on June 29, 2004 when his motorcycle crashed.

Most of these crosses are on the section of Route 140 in Lakeville between exits 10, 12 and 16 (former exits 8, 9 and 10 before this year’s renumbering). It is a lonely stretch of road with a long curve between these exits. The majority of accidents, from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and media accounts, occurred on the north side.

A solid black painted iron cross with bright yellow trim and lettering on Route 140 North before Exit 12 (County Road) marks the spot where Adam Luiz Rivera, 21, of Taunton was killed on June 29 2004 when his motorbike crashed in the woods. His nickname “Ace” appears on the cross along with his date of birth and death.

A wooden cross painted white also marks the passage of a young man a little further north. In the center of the cross is a framed image of the man and an angels chime hangs above him. A cap with a brown visor sits atop the cross signed by those who pay him a final tribute.

A weathered wooden cross a little further north has no name and, although worn, appears to be dated 9-03-97.

New Bedford crashes

Cameron Rodrigues, 19, from New Bedford died on April 24, 2021 when his vehicle crashed on Route 140 North near the Braley Road exit.

Peter Duncan, 26, of Taunton, and Jamie Demoranville, 25, of Freetown, were killed in November 2003 when their SUV struck another vehicle near the Phillips Road exit. The two men had been ejected when the vehicle struck a guardrail and overturned in the accident.

Massachusetts State Police responded shortly before 2:30 a.m. on April 24, 2021 to an accident on Route 140 North just off Braley Road where Cameron Rodrigues, 19, of New Bedford died. According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Rodrigues was thrown from the vehicle when he struck a metal pole and tree and possibly struck and dragged by another vehicle.

More recently, two people from Newport News, Va. Were killed on July 4, 2021 when their vehicle crashed into a guardrail and veered into the median where it struck a tree on Route 140 North in the 6.2 mile marker area, which is just before the Braley Road exit.

New Bedford Highway Kill victims left on Highway 140

The unsolved New Bedford Highway Killings of nine women and the disappearance of two more happened 33 years ago. Some of the victims were found on the abandoned Route 140 by the side of the highway.

Debra Medeiros, one of the victims of the New Bedford Highway Killing, was found in Freetown about 30 to 50 feet on the side of Highway 140 north, just before the Lakeville line.

The body of Debra Medeiros, 29, from Fall River was found in Freetown about 30 to 50 feet on the side of Route 140 North, just before the Lakeville line.

Debroh Lynn McConnell, one of the victims of the New Bedford Highway Killing, was found on Route 140 in Freetown.

Debroh Lynn McConnell of Newport, RI, was 25 when she went missing in 1988. Her body was found off Highway 140 north in Freetown by a search dog a year later.

Robbin L. Rhodes, one of the victims of the New Bedford Highway Killing, was found along Highway 140 south in Freetown by a search dog.

The body of Robbin L. Rhodes, 29, of New Bedford was found along Highway 140 south in Freetown by a search dog. She reportedly disappeared in March or April 1988. She was identified shortly after being found on March 28, 1989.

A suicide attempt in Freetown

A 39-year-old man from Lakeville was walking in the northbound lane of Route 140 near Chace Road in May 2020. Freetown Police Officer Patrick Lee arrived in the area and parked his car on the Chace Viaduct Road. He then descended an embankment where he discovered the man attempting to jump in front of vehicles passing on the track at high speed. The officer walked up to the man and led him into the grassy median and waited for medical help to arrive.

Fatal car crashes and traffic accidents in Lakeville, Massachusetts

Accidents in Taunton

A driver escapes this car fire on Route 140 North in Lakeville which authorities say was weather related.

Two state police officers were seriously injured on November 6, 2020 when they were struck by a car while at the scene of another crash at the intersection of Highway 140 and Depot Drive, near Home Depot and Target. Police were investigating the scene when a Volkswagen Beetle arrived at the crash scene and struck officers, police said.

Breanne L. Cabral, 27, of New Bedford was killed on February 13, 2019 when her car sank an embankment on Route 140 South before the (old) exit 10.

Nicole Dondero, 21, of Lakeville was killed when the vehicle she was in was struck by another vehicle heading north on Route 140. The vehicle Dondero was in was heading south on Route 140 Route 140 and was turning left onto Route 24 when struck by the oncoming vehicle.

Route 140 aka Alfred M. Bessette Memorial Highway

Route 140 was named Alfred M. Bessette after a representative and senator from New Bedford in the 1910s. Oddly, he died crossing a city street.

The highway was named in honor of Alfred M. Bessette, a Massachusetts representative and state senator in the 1910s. He represented New Bedford in the 7th district of Bristol House. He was born in Fitchburg in 1876. The inauguration of the name Route 140 was approved by state legislators in July 1956.

Strangely enough, according to a press article published in the Berkshire Evening Eagle in Pittsfield on January 6, 1944, Bessette “fell dead while crossing a street in her hometown of New Bedford”. He is buried in the old Sacré-CÅ“ur cemetery on Mt. Pleasant street in New Bedford. He was 66 years old.

A newspaper article in the Berkshire Evening Eagle in Pittsfield dated January 6, 1944, notes that Bessette

Is route 140 cursed?

Probably not, but some on social media have said more than once that they think the road is cursed. Others believe it could be deer, which can easily be seen grazing along the road, which could have been on the road, causing drivers to swerve to avoid hit one. Media reports noted that some causes of crashes on Highway 140 over the years could be related to weather conditions, speed or impaired drivers.

What does MassDOT have to say?

“The goal of MassDOT is to increase road safety with measures such as improving infrastructure and educating the public and MassDOT continuously monitors all incidents on the roads to make as many safety improvements as possible. “MassDOT’s Kristen Pennucci said in an email.

Pennucci noted that traffic engineers continuously monitor crash data to make targeted investments in safety improvements, where appropriate.

“The planned improvements for the Highway 140 corridor in Freetown include the installation of a metal barrier, the rehabilitation of the roadway and the installation of new high-visibility signage,” writes- it.

An upcoming project will replace and update the existing guide and signage on Route 140 between Freetown and Taunton with new signs mounted on existing brackets, including signs applicable on intersecting secondary roads, noted Pennucci.

Standard-Times digital producer Linda Roy can be reached at [email protected] You can follow her on Twitter at @LindaRoy_SCT. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times.

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