VALATIE — Community members are mourning the loss of the owner of a Main Street antiques store who died Monday afternoon after she was struck by a car while walking in the village.
Joan Archer, 77, the owner of JGA Antique was remembered as kind, funny, caring and smart by members of the community.
“Joan was just a wonderful, wonderful woman,” said Jackie Hennassy, of Kneller Insurance Agency. “[She was] so into Valatie, It’s just awful. It’s a huge loss for the village.
Archer was hit at about 12:18 p.m. Monday by a 2008 Toyota Cruiser, driven by a man who police would not identify, as she was crossing Church Street, in the area of Main Street, Aaron Hicks, public information officer for state police Troop K said.
State police arrived on the scene and closed Church Street between Main and Luther streets, which remained shut down for several hours Monday afternoon.
Paramedics performed life-saving techniques on Archer before she was placed in an ambulance and taken to Albany Medical Center, where she later died, Hicks said.
Lisa Hill, owner of The Attic, also on Main Street, remembered her friend.
“I’m just devastated by our loss,” Hill said in an email. “Joan was my neighbor, co-conspirator, collaborator and dear personal friend. Her grace and wisdom are unmatched, and her concern for others, sharp wit and frank honesty, me and my family will sorely miss.”
Hill detailed Archer’s movements leading up to the accident.
“Joan was walking from her store down Main Street,” Hill said. “She entered the crosswalk to cross Church Street and a car driven by a young man...traveling from the Route 9 direction cut the corner shallow making a left turn to go up the hill at Church Street and struck her in the crosswalk, throwing her over 10 feet uphill where she sustained a serious head injury.”
Hill was on hand at Albany Medical Center when Archer was rushed into surgery, she said.
“She (Archer) was in surgery to reduce the swelling and repair the brain bleed when she succumbed to her injuries,” Hill said.
Valatie Mayor Frank Bevins remembered Joan as a wonderful person.
“She has done a lot for the village, and will certainly be missed,” Bevins said.
Kinderhook Town Supervisor Patsy Leader fondly looked back at Archer.
“Joan always had a smile, and was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever known,” Leader said. “She was always seen walking.”
Leader is working with others on possibly holding a candlelight vigil for Joan soon, she said. Details have not been finalized.
Aimee Strunk, of Aimee Strunk Real Estate, said Archer will be missed.
“Joan Archer was a smart and lovely woman,” Strunk said.
Community members commented at the intersection of Main and Church streets.
“This intersection has been the site of a number of accidents, and Main Street, itself, has had countless incidents,” Hill said. “This year, there were three accidents, that I know of, that all occurred with a three-and-a-half week period — I believe it was around February.” Change is needed at the intersection, Hill added.
“I would like to see us rally as a community right now to make some real changes,” Hill said. “I believe that the Department of Transportation can address the danger on the street by installing three-way stop signs at the intersection of Church and Main, if not a real stoplight, instead. This is the center of town. It would not back traffic up to Route 9 or the 203 bridge and there is no reason why this couldn’t be done. Our voices will be heard.”
Leader added drivers using the intersection do not always use caution.
“People just fly by this area,” Leader said. “Many don’t obey the crosswalk laws.”
About 300 pedestrians are killed and 15,000 are injured by motor vehicles each year on the New York state roadways, and more than 3,000 pedestrians are admitted to the hospital annually, according to Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett.
Both drivers and pedestrians need to know and follow the rules of the road to assure pedestrian safety. It is a shared responsibility and both can be subjected to fines for not obeying vehicle and traffic laws. The majority of pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes involve driver error, including distraction, failure to yield and speeding. Pedestrians are responsible for following vehicle and traffic laws, as well, Bartlett said.