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  Volume No. 9 Issue No. 7 July 2013  

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Feature Stories
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  Fatal accident raises safety concerns
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Following a fatal accident May 6 at the intersection of Garrett Road and Meridian Road, the Falcon community has voiced concern about the safety of the intersection.
   The Colorado State Patrol investigated the accident; and, according to its website, a tow truck was traveling south on Meridian Road and a Ford truck was traveling east on Garrett road. The tow truck driver failed to stop at the intersection – the stop signs are set up for traffic traveling north and south on Meridian. The Ford truck reached the intersection at the same time, and the tow truck crashed into the Ford’s left side. The couple in the Ford died at the scene; the tow truck driver suffered minor injuries.
   Andre Brackin, county engineer for El Paso County, said many people are concerned that the intersection is to blame for the fatal crash and most other accidents in that area. Brackin said it’s human error. “The essential problem is that people just like to run that stop sign,” he said. “The predominance of accidents is people running the stop sign going southbound on Meridian.”
   CSP Capt. Chuck Cargin said that in the five years he’s been with the CSP, this accident was the first fatal one he’s seen. “There are really not that many accidents at that area,” he said. “From July 31, 2011, to May 2013, there have been six crashes total at that intersection – and only one fatal one.”
   Cargin said most of the accidents involve locals because the people know the road and think they can make it through the stop sign without stopping. “The road hasn’t changed,” he said. “Most crashes there are driver error.”
   The county is looking at ways to prevent crashes at the intersection. “We have done a traffic engineering analysis of the intersection just recently,” Brackin said. “Based on traffic and turning movement counts, we can determine the type of traffic control that is warranted to best safely deal with the traffic there. There’s just not enough turning movements for a traffic signal. It doesn’t warrant a four-way stop, either. Typically, four-way stops are on intersecting roadways with lower speeds and more traffic. A four-way stop would probably be more problematic and less safe in this situation.
   “We’re looking at potentially updating with more signage leading up to the intersection. But one thing that will change is that there will be signage updates (of the current stop and street signs). Our first shot is to upgrade the signage with better reflection and larger grade stop signs. There will be street sign installation and a possible intersection line.”
   The signage updates could happen as soon as the next few weeks, he said.
   “As you approach, you have an excellent sight distance,” Brackin said. “Going southbound, you can’t see over the hill until you get closer to the intersection, but if you’re going the posted speed limit and you stop, you can see.”


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