Deadly crash victim’s parents want traffic change at Spencer Co. intersection

Family says INDOT’s changes aren’t safe enough
Updated: Mar. 19, 2019 at 10:33 PM CDT
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SPECNER CO., IN (WFIE) - A family who lost their teenage daughter in a crash is pushing for the state to change the intersection where it happened.

17-year-old Jade Yeager would have celebrated her 18th birthday last week

The deadly crash happened March 19, 2018 at Highway 161 and Old State Road 45 intersection, just outside of Reo.

Indiana Department of Transportation engineers conducted a traffic assessment shortly after Jade’s death last year.

INDOT’s spokesperson, Jason Tiller, told 14 NEWS on Tuesday that the study revealed the intersection did need visibility improvement.

Tiller said INDOT installed larger stop signs, refurbished pavement markers, and put up cross road warning signs in advance.

Still, Jade’s parents said it’s not enough.

“As far as I’m concerned, the flashing light is nothing but a landmark when people are traveling 60 to 65 miles an hour," said Jade’s mother, Ami Crofton.

Crofton explained that the intersection is known to be dangerous among locals, but people still speed through, ignoring the flashing installment.

“Its a high speed intersection, and when you can’t see from either side for more than a split second--if you don’t catch someone coming up in your blind spot, it’s too late, and that’s what happened in (Jade’s) case,” Crofton said.

Crofton noted the dips on the northbound and southbound lanes on Highway 161. She says that contributes to the visibility problem crossing the intersection.

Tiller with INDOT told us it’s not a high crash intersection. Over the last 10 years it’s had only four crashes. Two of them were deadly.

“That doesn’t count all of the close calls," Crofton refuted. “I mean, I’ve talked to more people than I can count that have said something has got to be done. Put a traffic light up."

Tiller said INDOT’s engineers argue traffic lights are not always the right solution. The department believes it can lead to more rear-end style crashes.

Jade's parents think otherwise.

They’re hoping drivers on Highway 161 can at least remember their daughter, and take it slow.

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