REDMOND, OR -- After a horrific crash on Highway 97 in Redmond, last weekend, many drivers are questioning whether the intersection is safe. The driver of the Corvette, 19-year-old Patricia Jaeger, continues to recover following the crash when her car was run over by a semi truck. Redmond Police say the truck driver failed to stop at a red light, and hit two other cars after the Corvette.
Between 2009 and 2013 - the last year ODOT has records compiled - 36 crashes occurred at that intersection. Peter Murphy with Oregon's Department of Transportation says that’s not an unusually high number. "It looks like a majority of the crashes happen when it’s dry out and there’s no snow. And, the other thing we’re finding is that a preponderance of them are rear-end crashes; so generally, that’s someone up in front stopping at the light, and someone from behind is striking them, for whatever reason. But, it does not appear that weather is a factor." Of the 36 crashes that occurred in or near the Highway 97 and Veterans Way intersection during that five-year span, 19 were rear-end collisions.
Murphy tells KBND the intersection is unique for Redmond, given the large amount of traffic that flows through all directions. "We have intersections that are perhaps a little more problematic than Veterans, but it does represent a challenge for motorists. And, in fact, we’ve lowered the speed limit there, following a request by the city of Redmond. So, we’re trying to do things that can make not only Veterans but also other intersections more safe."
Murphy adds, "There are any number of steps that can be taken to notify motorists that an intersection coming up, a traffic control device, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing. But, really ultimately out there on the road, it’s the driver that has to notice signs and signals. I’d like to say there’s one particular cause, from an engineering perspective, we could fix. But, what it’s beginning to look like is that motorists share a preponderance of the guilt for these kinds of crashes happening."