Local News

Durham Commuters Upset Over Authorities' Handling Of Accident

Posted July 3, 2002

— Many commuters are still reeling from how long it took for authorities to clear the wreckage from an early Tuesday morning car crash in Durham.

At 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, a Ford Explorer came down off an exit ramp from Interstate 40 and crashed into a van at the intersection of Highway 55 in Durham.

Police lit flares shortly after the crash. The van was off the shoulder and the Ford Explorer was partially blocking one northbound lane. Durham police blocked off both northbound lanes, and traffic was snarled as cars were rerouted into the squeezed down southbound lanes.

Officers kept the lanes shut down for two hours. A tow truck arrived at 7:45 a.m. The wreckage was cleared, and the road re-opened two hours and 11 minutes after the crash.

"It was frustrating because there was no need for the other lanes to be blocked off at all," motorist KaVonya Taylor said. "When I did try to make a left turn, the police were so rude about the whole situation, they were like, 'Well, you just going to have to go around' instead of letting us know what was going on.'"

Authorities said they had to reconstruct the accident, which can take a large amount of time.

"It just takes a long time to do what they were doing and it's not something they can do in five minutes to reconstruct a serious accident like that," investigator Tim Leathers said.

Engineers with the State Department of Transportation said they are trying to get the Highway Patrol and local police departments to put a priority on keeping rush hour traffic moving after an accident. The DOT also has a task force that is looking at ways to improve accident response times.


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