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Police look at lighting in fatal accident

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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media Mourners placed a lone candle at the site of a fatal accident that took place in Cairo on Thursday evening, in which a Catskill woman was killed.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media Flowers were placed on the steps of The Hair Lab after one of the salon's employees, Darla Vincent, was killed in a car accident while leaving work this week.
January 6, 2019 12:15 am Updated: January 7, 2019 05:32 pm

CAIRO — Investigators say it is unclear whether lighting conditions played a role in the Jan. 3 accident in which a hairstylist was hit by a car and killed while attempting to cross an intersection on Main Street.

Darla Vincent, 67, of Catskill, was leaving her job at The Hair Lab at around 6 p.m. Thursday and crossing near the intersection of Main Street and Railroad Avenue, when she was struck by a passing car driven by Devon Steup, 37, of Cairo.

The cause of the accident has not been determined, Greene County Sheriff’s Investigator Joel Rowell said, but drugs and alcohol are not thought to be a factor.

“At this point, it appears that Darla Vincent walked out into the road and she was wearing all black. At this time we are still trying to investigate everything,” Rowell said. “It doesn’t appear that the driver had a lot of time to react.”

No charges have been filed at this time against Steup, Rowell said. Steup was not injured.

“But the case is still open, pending the investigation,” Rowell said.

It is unclear where Vincent was going at the time of the accident, Rowell said.

Greene County Coroner Richard Vigilo pronounced Vincent dead at the scene at 6:10 p.m. Vigilo and Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, a pathologist at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, conducted an autopsy Friday at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.

Vigilo said the autopsy revealed the cause of death to be massive trauma. Vincent died on impact, Vigilo added.

Sheila Gallagher, owner of Catching Rays Tanning Salon and Gift Shop, said that while it is not yet known what caused the accident, there is an ongoing concern in the area about inadequate street lighting.

“We need upgraded lighting in Cairo. Our lights are very old and they don’t illuminate anything,” Gallagher said Saturday. “There are 10 to 12 of them that have been out for a while.”

She said a lack of sufficient street lighting has been an issue in the area for several years.

“I don’t know if that could have prevented this accident, but it might prevent another one,” Gallagher said.

Cairo Town Supervisor Daniel Benoit would not speculate on the investigation.

“I don’t know if the street lamps were or were not on at the time of the accident nor if they were a contributing factor in any way,” he said.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office is doing a reconstruction of the accident, Benoit said.

“I will let the reconstruction of the accident be handled by them,” Benoit said. “I cannot speculate or comment on the matter.”

Benoit disagreed with Gallagher’s claim that street lamps go unrepaired for a long period of time.

“Burned-out street lamps have not been an ongoing issue,” Benoit said. “We replace them when they burn out.”

Benoit also considers the street lamps to be decorative, adding that the town installed them about 20 years ago.

“They weren’t always here,” he said.

The town is gradually changing the bulbs over to LED lighting, Benoit said.