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Parents want traffic signal at deadly intersection

Published: Mar. 14, 2015 at 2:52 AM CDT
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D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX)

Parents are speaking out about a troubled intersection following the untimely death of a brother and sister. Sixteen-year-old Amanda Ward and 14-year-old Jimmy Ward were killed on their way to school at D'Iberville High Friday morning. They were turning to cross Highway 67 on Big John Road when their car was hit by a truck.

Over the past year, several parents have reached out to lawmakers to make that intersection safer. But a traffic light was never put up. And now, more than ever, parents are speaking out hoping a change is made to that troubled crossroad.

Last year, D'Iberville High parent Angie Stenum says she witnessed a D'iberville high student in a car hit at this intersection. After she and other parents learned of more accidents on the crossroad leading into D'Iberville High School they started making phone calls to lawmakers. They also took to Facebook sharing their thoughts on what can be done to make the intersection safer.

"I called both of our State Representatives Scott Delano and Casey Eure and our Supervisor Windy Swetman. All three immediately agreed. Immediately got on the phone. They made multiple phone calls,” said Angie Stenum.

Both representatives say they reached out to Southern District Representative for the Mississippi Department of Transportation Tom King and requested a light be put here, but following a study that request was denied.

"What is the reason that this intersection with a school, with a high school with thousands of kids are denied a red light for their safety? That's the question that I want answered,” said Stenum.

MDOT officials say the intersection didn't meet the signalization requirements which take into account, accident data, and traffic volume over certain periods of time.

But that answer doesn't make sense to Stenum.

“As I've said before why, at an intersection of a high school of three of a university and two high schools and an elementary and a middle school within miles of each other, what is the explanation as to why we cannot have a red light? Our kids are in danger. Every single day they're in danger,” said Stenum.

Representative Scott Delano and Casey Eure confirmed they have been working on getting a light at that intersection, but say because it is a federally-funded highway there's been a lot of red tape.

They agree a light is needed and if not a light, Eure wants another alternative considered like removing the crossing and giving drivers a safer choice. They were successful in getting approval for a light at another dangerous intersection, Joppa Shriner Blvd, Lamey Bridge intersection at Highway 67.

That signal has not been put in place yet. Eure says King's office is looking at the Highway 67 and Big John Road intersection again to see what can be done to make it safer.

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