Seriously injured Gulfport woman says traffic light can save lives

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport woman who says she is lucky to be alive after a bad car accident at a Highway 49 intersection is hopeful a new traffic light will prevent the same from happening again. Over the years, people who live near Duckworth Road say there have been several accidents with some deadly. Now MDOT is in the process of putting up a stop light.

Eighty-one-year-old Margie Johnson has lived on Duckworth Road in Gulfport for decades, but she says life hasn't been the same since the day, two years ago, when she pulled up to the intersection of Duckworth and Highway 49.

"I went down to the corner and didn't see a car in a blind spot," said Johnson. "Pulled out got hit on my driver's side. Had surgery. Dangerous surgery from blood clots. I'm still having the effects of it with my neck bobbing around."

At the corner of Duckworth and Highway 49 are several small memorials to the people who lost their lives at this intersection. MDOT has already erected new traffic lights. Some drivers who live and work in this area say the lights can't start working soon enough.

"It's a good idea," said Jane Broadus. "There's been some really bad accidents there, some fatal accidents, and it's a hard intersection to get through. It really is."

Drivers say they hope the new light will make it easier for the many homeowners along Duckworth to turn onto the highway and make it safer to pull in and out of nearby businesses.

"I work at Puckett machinery and sometimes we can't hardly get out of the driveway in the afternoon," said Broadus. "We were talking about it at work the other day. We said it might give us kind of a break, and that service station, too, for people to get on the road."

Margie Johnson says although her recovery has been long and difficult, she feels fortunate to be alive. She hopes the traffic light will save lives.

"I'm hoping it will because there are people who are just flying down the street. It doesn't do any good to holler at them," Johnson said.

MDOT officials say they are not sure yet when the traffic light will begin operating.