Local News

Residents Question Safety Of Flashing Lights After Raleigh Fatal Collision

Posted September 11, 2001

— Police are looking for answers, and residents are asking for changes after a fatal wreck near New Hope Road at Buffaloe Road in Raleigh Monday morning.

Police say Roger Mitchell Dudley, the driver of a pickup truck, was killed after a collision with a Monte Carlo at the intersection just before 5:30 a.m. The driver of the Monte Carlo was seriously injured.

The traffic light at the intersection is set on flash mode overnight, and was on flash when the collision happened.

Officers say Dudley had a flashing red light, while the driver of the Monte Carlo had a flashing yellow light. Nevertheless, investigators say, it appears both drivers thought that they had the right of way to continue through the intersection. Neither vehicle stopped for the flashing lights.

Some residents living nearby say the flash mode can be confusing to drivers and would like to see it changed.

Varinder Sharma lives two houses down from the intersection, heard it happen, and saw the wreckage.

"I hope the people using this road learn from this accident, and that the authorities can make some decision where they can make it a regular traffic light," Sharma says. "They shouldn't put it in flashing mode because it does confuse the drivers."

When lights are flashing, the rule is to stop at a flashing red and proceed with caution on a flashing yellow.

Dudley, an

N.C. State University Public Safety

officer, joined the department in May 2000 after several years as a wildlife enforcement officer. Fellow officers say the Elizabethtown native was highly respected and well-liked both on and off the job.

"It's just like losing a family member, regardless of how it happens," says Sgt. Jon Barnwell of NCSU Public Safety. "When a family member is gone, it really strikes home and really upsets you. It's just going to take time to get over it. I'm hoping for a lot of time to pass quickly."

Dudley's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Bright Funeral Home in Wake Forest.

Jimmy Beckham, Raleigh's transportation director, tells WRAL that his department will look into settings at the intersection to see if changes should be made.

Police say heavy fog may have also been a factor. And, they are looking for witnesses to the wreck. Anyone with information is asked to call the Raleigh Police Department at 890-3350.

There was also a fatal accident at a flashing light intersection in Johnston County over the weekend. The two drivers apparently both thought they had the right of way at the intersection of Cleveland School and Swift Creek roads, when a red light and a yellow caution light were flashing. One person died in that accident as well.


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