Could last month's fatal hit and run crash in South Toms River have been prevented?  We'll never know for sure. But some borough officials, including the mayor, feel that more steps could have been taken to help make the busy road safer.

Welcome to South Toms River sign (South Toms River website)

Dover Road is a major thoroughfare in the community and it has seen its share of accidents during the past few years.  The road is county controlled so anything the borough would come up with would have to be approved through Ocean County officials.  A particular stretch of Dover Road near Chamberlain Street has been a concern.

Mayor Joseph Champagne tells Townsquare Media News "it was two years ago I first proposed the idea of a traffic signal there. I met with the county and we were told there weren't enough accidents in the area to get one put in and they cited a nearby traffic light as being more than adequate. Along with my engineer, I pushed for the last two years for it and lost."

When Champagne first learned about the tragic death of 84 year old William Gaughan last month by a hit and run driver, he was saddened. That emotion turned to anger.  Champagne said "I didn't know at that point if we could have prevented it. Maybe if that signal was in, it wouldn't have happened. There's no way to ever know.  I feel something needs to be done and fast."

Champagne plans to take the issue back to the county this year.  He hopes a serious crash in November and December's fatal incident will help convince them that the time has come for something to be done.