Man in wheelchair struck by oil truck

NEW BEDFORD – A man in a motorized wheelchair was seriously injured Monday afternoon when he was struck by an oil truck in the crosswalk at Purchase and Hillman streets, police said.

The incident is the latest in a series of serious accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians and at least the second involving a wheelchair-bound person in the past few months. On Oct. 29, Julio O. Andrade, 57, of New Bedford died after he was hit in his wheelchair at Route 6 and Pleasant Street; Andrade was one of six pedestrian fatalities in the city in 2010.

Sgt. Jill Simmons, the senior accident reconstructionist for the New Bedford Police Department, said the victim in Monday’s 3:25 p.m. accident was taken by ambulance to St. Luke’s Hospital and was later transferred by medical helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Simmons said the victim didn’t have any identification on him but police were later able to identify him as an 84-year-old resident of the city’s Melville Towers. His name was not being released Monday night.

When the accident occurred, the victim was operating his wheelchair southbound on Purchase Street near the curb, although the sidewalk was clear of snow, Simmons said.

She said witnesses told police the collision occurred in the crosswalk at the corner of Purchase and Hillman streets.