Second accident in a week occurs at local intersection
Updated 9 a.m. - Video report posted WILLMAR -- Attention-getting signs that were installed last week in an attempt to prevent accidents at a dangerous intersection didn't prevent a two-vehicle accident from occurring there on Tuesday. Vehicles d...
Updated 9 a.m. - Video report posted
WILLMAR -- Attention-getting signs that were installed last week in an attempt to prevent accidents at a dangerous intersection didn't prevent a two-vehicle accident from occurring there on Tuesday.
Vehicles driven by Wendie Discher, 39, of Danube and Mark Freitag, 33, of Willmar collided at 11:45 a.m. at the intersection of Business Highway 71 and 23rd Street, near the Health and Human Services building.
Discher and Freitag were taken to Rice Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
The accident was typical of most that have occurred at the intersection in recent years.
Discher was going west on 23rd Street, trying to cross the divided highway, according to Richard Neitz of the Minnesota State Patrol.
Before she made it all the way across, her 2006 Dodge Dakota pickup was struck by Freitag's 1997 Dodge Ram pickup, which was going south on Business Highway 71.
The stop signs and yield signs, equipped with blinking LED lights, were supposed to give drivers an extra dose of caution to look twice before attempting to cross the highway.
After discussing options this winter, engineers with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar agreed to share the cost of the $11,000 signs and then monitor the accidents to see if they made a difference. The three government entities share ownership of the intersection.
But the new signs had only been operating for five days when Tuesday accident occurred.
"That wasn't a good start," said Gary Danielson, Kandiyohi County public works director. "It's disappointing."
"It's a poor start," agreed Jon Henslin, MnDOT traffic engineer. "Hopefully it's not a pattern."
Henslin said he knew the signs wouldn't eliminate all accidents at the intersection, but he was disappointed a crash occurred so soon.
The intersection will continue to be monitored, he said. If there's no noticeable reduction in accidents the entities will re-examine other options, including closing the intersection and re-routing traffic, installing a roundabout or a diamond intersection.
It usually takes several months of monitoring to determine if there's a pattern in traffic accidents. But Danielson said if the accidents keep happening at the intersection, another review of options "will be quicker."