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Fight for a safer intersection continues after more than a year and now a death

Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 18:19:33-04

A dangerous intersection is now deadly. 

“We don’t want this to happen to another family.  This needs to stop.,” says Starla Kramer.  

She’s joining others who say the intersection of Clyde Road and Hickory Ridge in western Oakland County is not safe.  

Starla talked with us outside of the hospital where her mother has multiple broken bones, is sedated and has a long recovery.  

Starla's mother had a friend riding in the car with her when they were crossing Hickory Ridge on Sunday afternoon and were t-boned on her side. 

She says, “She does not have the knowledge yet that she lost her best friend.”

The family who lives on the corner has seen too many accidents.  One family member ran down on Sunday to help.  

“Holding my mom’s friend’s head until EMS arrived. How horrific for this family, said Kramer. 

“She kept telling him help is on the way.  When she read in the newspaper that he didn’t make it, she was crushed,” said Debby Lissner who is her mother-in-law.  

We showed you last year how Lissner was fighting for safety after a truck crash, then a school bus and Jeep crash within days.  

There was another crash yesterday, but nobody was killed.  

Debby’s message a year ago was, “That if something wasn’t done somebody was going to die. And that was our worst fear.  And here we are.”

The safety issue is visibility. People stopping on Clyde Road can’t see vehicles coming from westbound Hickory Ridge, which has a curve and is the top of a hill.  

Drivers have to look and look again before proceeding.  

The speed limit on the curve is 35, on the road 50. The intersection has two stop signs.  People say it needs a red light or 4 way stop signs.

The pain for Kramer, her family and the family of her mom’s friend is too much for them now to also speak out. But they say they will continue the fight after they get through a funeral and recover.  

“You can’t put a price on lives.  It needs to stop.  Enough is enough,” says Kramer.

The intersection is under the control of the Road Commission for Oakland County.  

Last year they said they were studying this and may upgrade it.  

This year they say, they’re studying it and gave us this detailed statement explaining the criteria for an upgrade:

In light of the recent fatality at the intersection of Hickory Ridge and Clyde roads in Highland Township, the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) is conducting an engineering analysis of the intersection. First, we must note that safety is our number-one priority at the Road Commission, and we spend considerable time and effort working to avoid collisions and especially fatalities. We are saddened by this tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the family of the deceased.

Any fatality on a Road Commission road triggers an automatic extensive investigation of the crash by Road Commission engineering staff. This includes looking at the cause of the crash, the crash history at the location, site distance and any other relevant engineering factors and data.

In this case, while the engineering analysis is ongoing, the initial review suggests that a traffic signal would not be warranted at this intersection and could, in fact, make things worse. Because there is significantly more traffic on Hickory Ridge Road than there is on Clyde Road (including gravel hauling trucks from the nearby gravel pit), and because of the topography of the area, installing a signal would likely result in an increase in rear-end collisions for north- and southbound traffic. However, we will be installing “opposing traffic does not stop” signs on Clyde Road to make sure Clyde Road drivers understand that the intersection is NOT a four-way stop.

The bottom line is that we rely on longer-term data trends and engineering analysis to drive these decisions. Where the analysis and data suggest it makes sense, we make changes. The reality, though, is that many crashes are not caused by a problem with the road.