Bainbridge fatal accidents start conversation about traffic lights

Bainbridge fatal accidents start conversation about traffic lights
Jesse Powell (Source:WALB)
Jesse Powell (Source:WALB)
Chris Hobby (Source:WALB)
Chris Hobby (Source:WALB)

BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - After two fatal crashes in the past five days in the same intersection, some residents in Decatur County said something needs to be done.

The crashes happened at Highway 27 North, and Bethel Road.

"It was terrible, the truck was there,  It was rough," said Jesse Powell, Bainbridge Resident.

Powell can recall every emotion that was running through his mind when he pulled up to the intersection 27 years ago-- to find out his uncle was involved in a fatal crash.

"It rolled in the north bound lane, he had rolled eight plus times," said Powell.

Back then he was only a teenager. As he got older he started to realize that something needed to be done at the intersection that he now describes as deadly.

"Georgia Department of Transportation even put out in a letter in the Post Searchlight at the time saying there haven't been enough fatalities to warrant putting up a red light," said Powell.

Since then he has contacted them several times, asking for them to take a look at the intersection.

Powell said he believes a stop light would help.

"If it's there, people are going to take precautions. If they see a red light, something different, a strobe, anything different, I think it would help aid in the fatality rate,"

Since 2011, the Georgia Department of Transportation said they have been notified of 35 crashes with 30 injuries in that exact spot.

They said up until now, zero fatalities were reported to them.

GDOT released a statement that said, "We receive calls from local government officials and private citizens on a daily basis. Anybody who has a concern about roadway operations or safety is welcome to contact Georgia DOT."

"As local government we want to make sure we're taking this very seriously and making sure we're doing what we need to do, to make sure the traveling public is safe," said City Manager, Chris Hobby.

Hobby said the city is working diligently with the Tifton GDOT office. There was a traffic study started Tuesday morning.

"I think DOT is already engaged in seeing what is going on with this intersection. Whether it's a sunlight issue or what's causing these accidents," said Hobby.

Based on the results of the study, the office will recommend what, if any, modifications should be made to enhance the overall safety and operation of the intersection.

As for right now, folks in Bainbridge said they just hope people drive safe and there are no more fatalities.

GDOT reported that about 5,500 vehicles pass through the intersection daily, 14% of those are semi-trucks

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