Published April 13th, 2007
Like many residents of Southwest 78th Street, John Bryant has been hit while trying to make a left-hand turn across Archer Road to get home, but he said his accident was nothing compared to his mother-in-law's accident in the same exact location on April 12, 2007.
"It was a devastating accident," Bryant said. "The damage you know very easily could have cost the life of my nephew, my son or even my mother in-law."
Archer merges into a two-lane road right before the intersection.
According to Bryant, when one car stops to make the left onto Southwest 78th, many cars try to pass on the right-hand side of the stopped vehicle.
Penny Buckhalter said her mother-in law was also hit there several years ago, and now she's worried about her 16-year-old.
"I have a daughter that's going to be getting her driver's license in the next month," she said. "I don't want her turning in here. It's too dangerous."
Evening rush hour is one of the busiest times of the day along Archer Road, but Buckhalter said the morning is even more dangerous.
"In the morning on the opposite side of the road, there are school kids standing there at the bus stop," Buckhalter said. "One day, one of those school kids is going to get hit."
Her concerns led her to call the Florida Department of Transportation, but representatives told her it could take up to five years before the problem is fixed.
"We do the best we can to explain it to them," F.D.O.T.'s Tony Falotico said. "We've got limited funding, we've got an 18 county district and we have to prioritize these things. Sometimes it takes time."
Some residents said there is enough pavement along the road to create a turn lane, but Falotico said the Department is still waiting for the official accident report. Even after the report is available, it will take between four and six weeks to investigate the site and if that is found to be a viable solution, up to an additional two months to re-paint the lanes; there is only one paint crew in F.D.O.T.'s District 2.
According to Bryant, his mother-in-law and son were okay after the accident but his nephew suffered a fractured wrist. He did not know what happened to the other drivers involved, but he said he knows something needs to done before much worse accident occurs.
"The residents of this neighborhood that pull in here on a daily basis are at risk," he said. "We need results today."
By Ted Latiak,WCJB TV20 News