CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Monday's deadly crash in Cherokee County that killed two Stephen F. Austin State University students is tragic, but authorities know it won't be the last time to hear about an accident happening at the intersection of highways 110 and 204 in the Ponta Community. Residents, who travel that area frequently, and law enforcement say major accidents there are a regular occurrence.
Even at Tuesday night's candle light vigil on FA's campus for students Qudus Jacobs and Chikosolu Ughanzee, who were killed in that wreck the day before, the hundreds in attendance the impact of the two lives cut short is tough life lesson to learn for the students, friends, and especially for their roommates and neighbors at “The Legend” apartments.
"Don't take it for granted. Don't take for granted that you can go to school," cried Natasha Hymes, a junior Business Management major from The Colony, a northern suburb of Dallas.
"It's a really dangerous intersection," Jack Johnson said Tuesday afternoon.
He lives at the intersection of State Highways 110 and 204. Every month, he hears and then sees the aftermath of bad accidents.
"Just a few weeks ago we had a wreck here,” Johnson said while pointing to other areas of around property. “I've had a car on fire right next to my house. I've had a tractor trailer in my yard. In fact upside down."
"Oh geeze! We have one or two a month at that intersection,” is how Jacksonville-based State Trooper Steven Crosby described the danger of that intersection. He said drivers on Highway 204 fail to adhere to posted warming signs as they approach Highway 110. Instead of stopping completely, they roll through. He says that's when they get "popped."
"You pull out in front of someone traveling 60 or 70 miles per hour, most of the time, it's a front-end or rear-end impact, grazing this or that, this one had to be upon the door," Cosby said about the collision between the two students and 29-year-old Richard Osteen Jr., Troup, the driver of the Dodge dually.
"We need a stop light," Johnson said, adding he believes that would solve the problem.
However, Texas Department of Transportation has studied the intersection for years and has considered a stop light and other possibilities.
Crosby said his supervisor met with Texas Department of Transportation, which said installing a four-way stop isn't an option. They looked at whether or not an overpass might help. However, it would be a million-dollar undertaking that would require state funding, which is not likely.
So they say state and local agencies have done their part. Now drivers have to do theirs.
Warning signs and flashing lights are about the right of way and who must stop are well posted.
Crosby says drivers need to:
- Limit distractions
- Pay attention
- Read the warning signs.
These simple steps could save your life and lessen the possibility of another bad crash at highways 110 and 204.