WILLOWICK, Ohio– Monday’s hit-and-run crash that injured two children getting off a school bus in Willowick is renewing some longtime concerns about the safety of the intersection where it happened.
Investigators said neither the stop signs nor speed limit played a role in Monday’s incident, but residents say drivers often ignore both.
For years, neighbors said they have complained about drivers speeding and ignoring stop signs, which have caused numerous crashes.
“The telephone pole in the front of the house was hit at least two times, the tree in the front of that other house was hit, at least two times,” said resident Richard Hinkel.
Hinkel lives near the corner of East 300th Street and Barjode Road in Willowick. He’s been in his current home for only about three years, but for 25 years he lived in a house that once stood on an empty lot next door, now part of his front yard.
In September 2015, a drunken driver blew through the stop sign in front of his home and slammed into his house, knocking it off its foundation and forcing it to be torn down. He guessed that was the sixth time his home was struck by a vehicle.
“This is a dangerous corner… Last year, a car hit the telephone pole. It’s just constant and no one stops for the stop sign,” Hinkel said.
FOX 8 spent about an hour monitoring the intersection Tuesday. Our camera captured a handful of drivers barely slow down at either stop sign on Barjode and dozens more slowly roll through it.
“This has always been bad, always cause it’s a cut through from Wickliffe to the freeway,” said resident Kristine Raymond.
Raymond’s son, Scotty, was one of the two 7-year-olds injured getting off the school bus Monday. She said she has always worried about her children’s safety.
“I used to sit here and they would ride their tricycles… They used to be able to go from the corner on the sidewalk to the first driveway. They can’t anymore, I will not, because I’m afraid that a car is going to come up and hit them cause they go so fast,” she said.
“Traffic light maybe, that would help. Four-way stop might help… But other than a cruiser coming around and setting up radar, what else can they do?” Hinkel said.
Willowick Mayor Rich Regovich said in the past, the city has set up a device that tracks traffic patterns to determine the best time of day for traffic control. He said they also deploy a speed trailer to show people how fast they are driving.
The mayor said ultimately, the location does not have more accidents or incidents than other intersections in the city. He also said the number of complaints often increases when the weather starting getting warm.