Kandiyohi County plans changes at intersection of fatal crash
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County highway officials are planning some sign changes at a rural intersection that was the site this past weekend of a fatal crash.
WILLMAR - Kandiyohi County highway officials are planning some sign changes at a rural intersection that was the site this past weekend of a fatal crash.
The crash Sunday night claimed the lives of David Frank, 76, and Mildred “Susie” Frank, 75. The well-known couple were the owners of Frank’s Greenhouse near Pennock.
Since the fatal crash, the county Public Works Department has received calls from the public about the safety of the intersection, which is at County Roads 1 and 27 four miles north of Pennock, said Mel Odens, the county’s public works director.
The accident also triggered internal discussion within the department, Odens told the Kandiyohi County Commissioners at a meeting Thursday of the County Board’s road and bridge committee.
Motorists going north or south on County Road 1 have no stop signs at the junction with County Road 27. On 27, there are stop signs for east- and westbound traffic before crossing County Road 1.
The Franks, who were on County Road 1, were struck in the intersection by a truck that apparently went through the stop sign on County Road 27. The driver of the truck, Matthew Gingery, 40, of Ozark, Mo., was treated for minor injuries and released. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that Gingery was a “storm chaser,” although it’s unknown whether he was chasing a thunderstorm at the time of the crash Sunday night.
There’s a slight incline on County Road 1 before it reaches County Road 27 but the intersection itself is open, said Odens, displaying photographs for the county commissioners that document road and landscape conditions at the intersection.
For the county to take no action in the wake of the crash that killed the Franks “is probably not acceptable here,” he said.
There are several options: larger stop signs, stop signs on both the left and right shoulder of County Road 27, the addition of flags to the stop signs, and reflective tape on the posts to make them more visible at night.
“There’s a progression,” Odens said, noting that these steps should be tried first before considering the installation of flashers at the intersection.
“We’re going to start implementing some of these steps. We take this seriously,” he said.
A crash at the same intersection over the Labor Day weekend in 2012 killed one person and injured four others.