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How many accidents does it take?

It appears VDOTs efforts of reduced speed and rumble strips are not reducing accidents on the stretch of State Route 205 in front of Halls Supermarket. The question in the minds of local residents is: How many accidents will it take for VDOT to make some significant changes to the traffic patterns in this area?


At approximately 4:30 pm on Friday, Aug. 30, three vehicles were involved in an auto accident in front of the second entrance to Halls Supermarket, a 1994 Nissan pickup truck, a 2006 Dodge Caravan and a 2007 Cadillac.

  According to the driver of the White Nissan pickup truck, David L. Boyd, 70, of Montross, he was traveling on 205 towards Colonial Beach. Boyd said his Nissan was behind a large black pickup. Both pickups were in the left turn lane in the center of 205. The large black pickup truck appeared to be turning into the parking lot of the supermarket, when he hesitated and turned back toward the turn lane, according to Boyd.

Missy Michelle Souders commented on The Journal’s Facebook page: “Lord those rumble strips are a joke. I went over them for the first time Wednesday and my car never made a noise. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET THIS AREA SAFE?”

However the rumble strips are located at the intersection several hundred feet from the accident site. But on scene Ted Terrell, the father of the Cadillac driver, who was not involved during the crash, said the turn lane markings were inadequate and felt the whole stretch needs to be evaluated.

The driver of the Nissan said he turned to go behind the black pickup into the parking lot. His view to an on-coming minivan (2007 Dodge Caravan) traveling on Route 205 towards Oak Grove was blocked. The Nissan driver said the van struck his pickup truck at the rear tire. As the impact spun his truck around, the Nissan struck a 2007 Cadillac waiting to exit the shopping center parking lot.

The driver of the Nissan took full responsibility for his actions at the scene.

The van was reported to have 5 small children in it. All children appeared to be shook up.

According to the State Police report provided by Sgt. Thomas J. Molnar, the driver of the Nissan, who was wearing his safety belt, was not injured in the crash.

The driver of the Dodge, Anna E. Chaplin Jones, 31, of Montross and one of her passengers, a 9 year old boy, were injured in the crash and were both transported to the hospital. They were both wearing their safety belts.

The driver of the Cadillac, Mary J. Terrell, 51, of Henrico Va, who was wearing her safety belt, was not injured in the crash.

The driver of the Nissan, David L. Boyd, was charged with failure to yield the right-of-way.

The intersection near the crash site was recently studied by VDOT after a citizen experienced an accident, although she did not have any life threatening injuries, she began a campaign to persuade VDOT to take measures to avoid future accidents.

Dave Brown, VDOT administrator,  informed the council in the spring of this year that a study was being conducted on the intersection of State Route 205 and 628.  

Brown explained the study and resulting actions at the August Town Council meeting. saying the study included, traffic volumes, posted speed, existing road conditions and sight distance.

Although no criteria could be found to justify changing the flashing signal at the intersection to a full working traffic signal, the VDOT team studying the intersection did recommend the following safety measures: reducing the speed limit for traffic traveling on Route 205 to 45 mph starting a quarter mile before and ending a quarter mile after the intersection of 205 and 628.

In addition VDOT placed reduction of speed limit signs which included attention flags for the first 90 days for regular motorists who travel this route. A stop ahead sign was added to the Stoney Knoll approach to the intersection. In addition pavement marking rumble strips were added at the approach to the intersection on 628.

The Westmoreland County Sheriffs office was to be notified of the changes which took effect at the end of August 2013 when the improvements were complete so the WCSO could monitor the area carefully to ensure motorists are following the new speed limits.

VDOT said they would continue to monitor the intersection to measure the effectiveness of the improvements.

However, it appears there are more problems than the intersection itself and motorists are getting worried there will be more serious accidents.

 


                              - Linda Farneth

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