Will a 4-Way Stop Prevent Crashes at a Deadly Intersection?

By Scott Sarvay
By Rachel Martin
By John W. Davis

  • Click to enlarge

    Stephanie Woodring's car that was totaled. Woodring was driving on Dawkins Road. All indications show Woodring had the right-of-way.

4 photos

October 26, 2011 Updated Oct 26, 2011 at 11:22 PM EDT

WOODBURN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – "He pulled out in front of me and I t-boned him."

Indiana's NewsCenter has an exclusive interview with a young woman who survived a severe crash at the intersection of Dawkins Road and State Road 101 near Woodburn in April 2010.

22-year-old Stephanie Woodring of New Haven said she is happy to hear that the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) added new stop signs, turning the once two-way stop, into a four-way stop.

INDOT conducted a study this past summer that helped authorities decide that adding more stop signs was the best thing to do.

The study was prompted by the death of a 77-year-old couple from Ohio who died after crashing into a bus at that intersection.

The intersection has had three traffic deaths since 2009.

Meanwhile, Woodring remembers her crash like it was yesterday.

"It was very traumatic. I'm terrified to go past four-way stops anymore," said New Haven Resident Stephanie Woodring.

"I slow down every time (now). I was very angry at that guy for running it and my knees hurt all the time now. He just set me back now I'm just such a worried driver all the time," Woodring continued.

She said a man who was driving on State Road 101 blew through a stop sign and pulled out in front of her as she drove down Dawkins Road.

At the time, State Road 101 had stop signs.

Dawkins Road did not have any stop signs.

Since Woodring had the right of way, she ended up t-boning the other driver.

Her car was totaled.

Woodring said witnesses told police the other driver was at fault.

She said the four-way stop is a start but she has a better idea.

"I think they should put in the flashing light so that Dawkins has the yellow flashing lights and that (State Road) 101 has the red flashing light and that will give them at least a little more visual sign that they need to stop," Woodring explained.

INDOT announced the changes via email on Wednesday morning.

Changes were implemented on Monday and Tuesday.

Indiana State Police (ISP) said they’re trying to save a life before another tragic accident happens. Multiple accidents, most recently a fatal one, prompted these changes to the well-traveled intersection.

Before, drivers had the right-of-way on Dawkins Road, but INDOT added stop signs. Now drivers will be required to stop on Dawkins at the intersection of SR 101.

In addition, new “Stop Ahead” signs and rumble strips were added to help warn drivers about the change. Even though drivers are given plenty of warning before the new stops signs, ISP officer, Sgt. Ron Galaviz said people are disregarding them.

“So we are going to increase our enforcement efforts in and around that area, so to your viewers, as you travel through there don't be surprised to see a couple of State Police cars in there, and not with the goal of writing tickets but with the goal of saving lives," Galaviz explained.

Meanwhile, Indiana's NewsCenter has left a message for INDOT officials to see when or if they plan on putting up a stop light.

Neighbors have previously told Indiana's NewsCenter that a stop light will be the only thing to truly prevent injuries and ultimately save lives.

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