DOT to add stop signs to intersection, site of 22 crashes
Posted January 5, 2021 6:33 p.m. EST
Updated January 5, 2021 7:35 p.m. EST
Mount Olive, N.C. — An intersection that has seen two fatal crashes in the last six months has been approved by the state Department of Transportation for a stop sign. But the fix comes too late for a Wayne County woman who died there last month, just around the corner from home.
Amanda Thomas was on her way home from work, traveling on N.C. Highway 55, turning left onto Kelly Springs Road when another vehicle illegally passed her and T-boned her in the intersection, killing her.
Amanda Thomas’ husband, Ricky Thomas, and their 13-year-old daughter Alana will never forget the night she died.
"I wanted to get to my wife, but they wouldn’t let me get to her. I just broke down crying and passed out," he said.
The driver was charged in the crash, but Ricky Thomas thinks the lack of a stoplight at the intersection also played a role in her death.
"There have been a lot of accidents there," he said. The family lived just a quarter mile from the crash site.
Andrew Barksdale, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation said, "Trying to reduce fatal crashes is, you know, obviously a really big priority for us."
The department was already investigating the intersection when Amanda Thomas died.
NCDOT investigators studied 22 crashes at the intersection and recommended changing it from a two-way stop to a four-way stop.
"We can reduce serious crashes or even fatality crashes by about over 70%," Barksdale said.
Ricky Thomas thinks that stop signs don't go far enough and that a stoplight is needed.
"If you can put stoplights everywhere else, why you can’t put one here and save people’s lives," he wonders.
In addition to the two new stop signs, there will be signs with flashing warning lights on both sides of N.C. 55 a few hundred feet from the intersection letting drivers know everyone must stop.
The project is estimated to cost $40,000. Pending approval of the funding, the signs are expected to go up sometime this spring.