EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW)– A mother’s tragic death as she tried to cross a busy street prompted changes and a visit from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
The governor spent the day in East Cleveland, where he spoke to city leaders about ways the state can help make improvements in the troubled city.
“My sister and my family appreciate you coming out showing support,” said Brutell Dandridge, the victim’s brother.
There was an emotional encounter between the brother of 36-year-old Terra Market Nolden and DeWine. The governor got a first-hand look at the intersection where the mother of seven was struck and killed by a vehicle that did not stop.
“I thought no one would come out, you know… It was just a poor life taken, she just really didn’t mean nothing to nobody, and you know, I was really excited to hear that the governor was coming out,” Dandridge told FOX 8.
When Nolden was killed on Dec. 30, there was no traffic signal at the intersection of Euclid and Strathmore avenues. It was removed as part of a city-wide traffic signal improvement project.
“At my direction, we moved forward, sped up what you see now completed here,” DeWine said.
Earlier in the morning, ODOT installed a temporary traffic light.
“My sister life is gone. You can fix the light, but we can’t fix my sister. We can never bring her back,” Dandridge said.
“I talked to the director, director (Jack) Marchbanks and simply said, ‘Look, we gotta move.’ I mean, this has got to move as quickly as we can and I don’t care if it’s the weekend, I don’t care what it is, we gotta move forward, we owe that to the people of East Cleveland,” DeWine said.
DeWine said because East Cleveland’s dire financial situation, the state is managing the nearly $3 million project, which called for permanently removing 31 of the 49 traffic signals in the city. The remaining 18 were being upgraded, including the one where Nolden was killed.
“In the finished product, we will be looking at pedestrian crosswalks in which you can push the panel and it’ll light up so that vehicles will know pedestrians are attempting to cross the street,” said East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King.
“I just want the community to be safe just traveling, you know, pedestrians gotta travel too, whether we got a vehicle or not,” Dandridge said.
East Cleveland’s mayor said a temporary traffic signal will also be installed at the corner of Marloes and Euclid avenues near the police station in the next few days. He also said FirstEnergy is working on fixing a problem with street lights that have been malfunctioning.
DeWine said he also spoke to city leaders about economic development opportunities for East Cleveland. King said he is pleased with the governor’s response.