A family’s fight to improve safety at a dangerous intersection is paying off 5 months after their loved ones were killed in a crash. Thanks to thousands of signatures and pressure from the victims’ families, ODOT granted the public a special meeting to discuss improvements.
ODOT is proposing to add a traffic signal, possibly extra medians or a U-turn lane to the intersection. It’s where 23-year-old Brook Fudge, and his girlfriend, 25-year-old Sherill Cruea, were killed in a motorcycle crash in October.
Since their deaths, their families have been fighting for improvements, they say, so other families don’t have to experience the same tragedy.
“Sherill had the biggest smile,” Sherill’s mom Tonie Cruea said. “That would light up any room. Her laugh was contagious.”
Tonie Cruea is turning her anguish into action, calling for swift improvements to the intersection where her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend were killed.
“She was humble,” Cruea said. “And kind and I think that’s why her and Brook got along so good because they were two peas in a pod.”
The two were killed in October when their motorcycle collided with a car at the intersection of US 42 and Spring Valley-Paintersville Road.
“If it was one of their friends in the accident,” Cruea said. “Brooke and Sherill would be here tonight.”
Thursday night, ODOT hosted a special meeting to showcase their proposals for improving safety at the intersection.
Proposals, include adding a median to allow for a U-turn lane or adding a fully-functional stop light, something many residents want, but ODOT says it would likely just cause more crashes.
“At a signal more people are stopping,” ODOT Engineer Brianne Hetzel said. “And you have more conflict points at an intersection because you get people coming from all angles. So conflict are really what increases your risk of crashes.”
Cruea says she’s on board for any improvements their willing to make to the intersection. Since the crash, they’ve added LED stop signs and flashing lights, but Cruea says it’s not enough.
“Something has got to be done at this intersection, not just because of Brook and Sherill,” Cruea said. “Because other families have lost family members there too and we don’t want other families to have to go through what we’ve been through.”
Officials say they’ll take the feedback received tonight and decide which proposal is best. They’ll then present the proposal to the state in May, where they’ll make a case for why they should receive funding for the project.