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Getting the go-ahead from a fellow motorist often takes a turn for the worse

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Taking a cue from a fellow motorist in part caused two accidents in the downtown last week. (Rochester Police photo)

ROCHESTER - Two downtown accidents in four days last week were at least partially blamed on drivers who claimed they got signals from other motorists who said it was safe to proceed, but Rochester Police say that's an accident waiting to happen.

"If you go beyond a car that's waving you on, that's your responsibility," Rochester Police Capt. Jason Thomas said on Thursday.

His comments came in the wake of a Tuesday accident in which a Strafford motorcyclist was injured when his bike slammed into a minivan crossing across four lanes of South Main Street traffic from Lambert Court into the Walgreen's Pharmacy .

The accident occurred around 4:10 p.m. when police say Phatmani Batchelder, 44 of Lebanon, Maine, was stopped at the intersection of Lambert Court and South Main Street with the intent of going straight across the four-lane road into the Walgreen's and Peoples United Bank entrance.

According to police, a vehicle stopped in the left northbound lane of South Main, and the operator signaled for her to proceed. As Batchelder crossed the lanes of travel, she was unable to see an oncoming Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which was operated by Kevin Dean, 60, of Strafford, as it was being obscured by the vehicle that stopped to allow her to cross.

Dean was taken to Frisbie Memorial Hospital with what were described as nonlife threatening injuries. Luckily he was wearing a helmet.

Then on Friday, again during the afternoon commute around 4:30 p.m., police say John Cox, 69, of Rochester, was headed south on South Main in his 2011 Jeep Patriot when he stopped to make a left turn onto Dreyer Way. According to police, a vehicle heading north had stopped in the left lane of travel allowing him to proceed, but when Cox did his vehicle was struck by a northbound 2000 Jeep Wrangler driven by Jordan Lohr, 21, of Gonic, who was traveling in the right lane on South Main Street and apparently did not see Cox turning due to the other vehicle being present in the left lane.

The collision caused the Jeep Patriot to hit the curb on the north side of the Dreher Way intersection and roll over onto the driver's side.

Cox was taken to Frisbie Memorial Hospital with what were described as nonlife threatening injuries, while his wife was also transported for unspecified injuries.

"Drivers just have to cautious, especially in four lanes," said Thomas.

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