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Accidents spark police, public worry

October 20, 2011
Jenn Brookens - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Within the past two weeks, there have been four car crashes at the intersection of Highway 15 and Johnson Street.

With the intersection right by the high school, many may be surprised to hear that only one of these accidents involved a student driver.

According to Fairmont Police school resource officer Jaime Bleess, all those involved in the crashes were wearing seat belts. Only one of the accidents involved minor injuries.

"All were buckled, so that was a potential injury or live saver," he said.

As part of the current seat belt enforcement campaign, traffic was observed by the Johnson Street and Highway 15 intersection Wednesday afternoon.

"For the after-school traffic, all the vehicles that were on Johnson Street pulling onto Highway 15 were buckled up," Bleess said. "But there were several citations for seat belts on north and south traffic on Highway 15. When you factor in the speed citations, there were more."

Speed was a factor in some of the recent crashes.

"The majority of people are belted, which is good, but we have some work to do on the north/south speed limit compliance," Bleess said. "An 8 or 9 mile per hour difference over the limit really affects how long it takes to stop when someone pulls out in front of you ... The message we want to get out is to come to a complete stop and look twice. Three times. Even look again. We had one [person in an accident] say how they wish they had just looked one more time. The stop sign, the speed limits, the seat belt law; they're all there for a reason."

Expect to see Fairmont police and other local law enforcement to keep monitoring the intersection, even after the current Safe and Sober campaign is finished.

"I think that's what our public expects from us," Bleess said. "Our students are really doing a good job of driving, it's just that this corner needs to be addressed and people need to use more caution. Even when everyone is doing everything right, that is still a dangerous intersection before and after school."



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