Senator Chapin Seeks to Rename Portions of Route 8 in Honor of Local Figures [Republican American]

March 11, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Republican American on March 7, 2013

Poignant plea to honor pair
Road may have 2 sections named for locals

By Bruno Matarazzo Jr.

TORRINGTON — Carol Cox of Winsted has less than three minutes to speak in Hartford on Friday when she testifies before a joint transportation committee to have an overpass on Route 8 named after her late son, Jerry Dale Cox III.

Putting words on paper is hard, she said. She’ll sit down, write and then get too emotional and has to stop when the memories of the Dec. 22, 2010 crash come back: the frantic call from her son’s girlfriend, the drive down Route 8 past the crash scene, and the dash to the emergency room at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital where she was told her 16-year-old son didn’t survive.

“I’m a nervous wreck,” Carol Cox said about the speech. “It’s not so much the time that I’m worried about, it’s what I say.”

Jerry Dale Cox will be one of two local residents who may have portions of Route 8 in Torrington named after them. The other is former Democratic state Rep. John “Tony” Miscikoski, who died in March 2012. He was responsible for getting funding for Route 8 to extend to Torrington and into Winsted.

A section of Route 8, from Exits 43 to 45 in Torrington, may be named in memory of Tony Miscikoski, known in Litchfield County as ‘Mr. Route 8’ for getting funding to extend the highway north to Winsted. He died in March 2012.

For Cox, the area that would be named in his memory is the overpass on Greenwoods Road, near the scene of the crash where he died.

For Miscikoski, it would be from exits 43 to 45 in Torrington.

Sen. Clark J. Chapin, R-New Milford, is making both requests. He said officials from CT Lottery may speak in favor of renaming the highway after Miscikoski, who also is considered the creator of the state’s lottery system, and have offered to pay for the sign.

Miscikoski served 22 years in the state Legislature until he was defeated in 1984 by Republican George Avitabile.

About Cox, Chapin said he never met the teen, but he said his life was a testament to the success of the state’s vocational school system.

“His memory serves as a shining example of all the things that’s right with the vocational state system. The accident occurred around the time the governor proposed transferring the jurisdiction of the vo-tech system out of the state’s hands,” Chapin said.

Carol Cox said her son loved to fix cars and turn a “hunk of junk” into something that looked new.

He had left school early that day, suffering from a migraine, and lost control of the pickup truck he was driving. His mother said state police told her speed was not a factor in the crash, his cellphone was found in his pocket, and he was wearing his seat belt.

Jerry Dale Cox was a shy kid who came out of his shell at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School. He could make friends with anyone and “always stuck up for the underdog,” his mother said. “It’s amazing the person he turned out to be. I was so proud. Doing this is that important to me,” Carol Cox said.