Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

Light could shine way to saving lives

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Two young women lost their lives and a third met her fate approaching what some feel is a dangerous intersection on Goodwill Road.

Parish-maintained Goodwill Road intersects state Hwy. 528, also known as Bellevue Road.

Nearby resident Wilbert Brooks would like a flashing light installed there, according to Webster Parish Police Jury member C. C. "Cat" Cox.

"You see there's been four or five people killed there over the years," said Cox.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. on June 12, 18-year old Holly B. Romano was traveling northbound on Goodwill Road. After passing through the intersection at Hwy. 528, her car collided with a tree on the right side of Goodwill Road.

The spot of her fatal accident is marked with a small memorial. Two other memorials sit in other places alongside the intersection.

On March 9, 2006, 20-year-old Nikki Lee Sites drove through the northbound stop sign and was killed when broadsided by an 18-wheeler.

On August 6, 2000, 21- year-old Carmen Grady was approaching the intersection, lost control in the curve and was killed when her car flipped over onto the side of the road.

According to Cox, the intersection rests under state jurisdiction.

"We got a hold of the state men and we met down there," he said, "the state men, Teddy Holloway (Webster Parish Road Superintendent), Brooks and Webster Parish Sheriff's Department."

Cox and Holloway requested a Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) safety review. DOTD examined traffic patterns around the intersection, and measured sight distances along Hwy. 528 around Goodwill Road.

According to the DOTD review, 85 percent of traffic passing Goodwill Road traveled at the speed limit of 55 miles per hour or slower.

Sight distances from the intersection extend more than a mile in both directions.

DOTD also examined reducing speed limits and placing a four-way stop or traffic signal at the intersection.

Romano's June 12 and Sites' March 9, 2006 accidents were considered in the review. Two non-fatal accidents from 2004 and 2005 were also considered. However, Grady's August 6, 2000 accident was outside of the review's time frame.

Regarding a light, DOTD concluded, "the crash history did not reveal an unusually high number of crashes and ... the sight distance from both stop signs is more than adequate, the installation of a flashing beacon ... is not warranted at this time."

DOTD also concluded that a traffic signal, multi-way stop and reduced speed were not warranted.

While rumble strips on Goodwill Road would be parish responsibility, the DOTD review reads, "Due to the low number of crashes and the more than adequate sight distances, rumble strips would not be warranted at this time."

DOTD made a number of suggestions for the police jury to make the intersection safer. According to the review and Holloway, all of the suggestions have been completed except repainting the stop bars on Goodwill Road.

Stop bars are the white stripes that delineate where to stop at an intersection. According to Holloway, the stop bars are scheduled to be painted by a parish contractor in the near future.

"The citizens weren't satisfied with the safety audit," said Cox. Parish officials placed a resolution on their agenda requesting the state look further. The resolution passed unanimously during the October 4 session.

"I just want the citizens to know we're out here doing everything we can," said Cox.

"If I thought it'd save even one life, I'd be willing to do anything I could," Holloway said.

Editor's Note: Accident information taken from prior Press-Herald articles by Bonnie Culverhouse, Kristi Richie, and Karla Sumrall. Wilbert Brooks could not be reached for comment.

Last Updated ( October 17, 2011 )  

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