Local News

Copy of Fatal wreck leads to changes at intersection near Panther Creek HS

Posted November 26, 2014

Spencer Saunders, left, and Laura Yost (Source: Spencer Saunders Twitter)

— Parents have demanded safety changes at an intersection near Panther Creek High School where a 15-year-old student was killed in September – and they got their wish.

“Even myself driving to the school and dropping her off, I've been very concerned about the amount of traffic, about the young drivers and about the amount of turns,” said parent Lori Petty.

Town of Cary and state Department of Transportation officials studied the left turn from N.C. Highway 55 to McCrimmon Parkway and looked at traffic patterns at the intersection.

Turn data taken during peak morning hours on October 14 showed 618 left turns were made from N.C. 55 to McCrimmon.

The data was significant enough to make adjustments to the traffic signal during school hours.

“During the morning school, during the lunch hour time and after school release, there will be a protected only green arrow,” said Lori Cove, director of the Town of Cary's transportation and facilities department. “So if you don't have a green arrow, you can't go.”

There will also be a flashing yellow light installed for non-school hours, permitting motorists to turn left when there is a safe gap in the flow of traffic.

The changes come nearly two months after a fatal wreck at the intersection. Laura Yost, a Panther Creek student, was in the passenger-side backseat of a Chevrolet Blazer when its driver turned left into the path of a dump truck at the intersection on Sept. 20. She underwent surgery at Duke University Hospital, but later died from her injuries. Her 16-year-old brother was also injured in the wreck.

Police said the driver of the vehicle, Spencer Saunders, 16, of Morrisville, rushed through a safety light and failed to yield to the right of way. He was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

For Petty, she is happy with the changes at the intersection.

“I feel positive about those things,” she said. “It's very much needed.”

The new signals will be installed Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.


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