Deadly accident pushes residents to ask for change in Franklin County

By  | 

BURNT CHIMNEY, Va (WDBJ7) A day after a deadly crash in Franklin County, residents say more needs to be done to keep drivers safe.

Residents like Mary Evelyn Sellars. "I have a daughter who's with her learner's. It makes me so nervous," she said.

Sellars has seen first hand the problems at the Hardy Road and Route 122 stop sign.

"They actually do not stop at that sign," said Sellars. "We've had a lot of vehicles that end up across the road in Randy Hodges's driveway."

Sellars has lived just down the road for seven years, and she says Monday's crash has become far too normal. "This is a small community, and at the end of the day, someone's always gonna know someone who's gonna get killed on this road," she said.

In the last three years, the Virginia Department of Transportation says 20 crashes happened right here. It's one reason for the new blinking signs, installed just days before Brittany Henritze and David Nash II were killed.

The signs are the first of a series of changes VDOT is making to try to improve this intersection. The changes were requested several years ago by Franklin County as part of VDOT's SmartScale program.

"As a result we are developing a project to install some turn lanes," said VDOT spokesman Jason Bond.

He says based on the location and layout, new turn lanes off of 122 onto Hardy Road are the best way to reduce accidents. VDOT explored other options, including a traffic light at the site as well.

VDOT expects to begin construction at the intersection in spring or summer of 2020.

Until the changes are made, Bond says residents should be careful. "Really what people need to do is use extra caution around this intersection," he said.

But for locals like Mary Evelyn Sellars, that change can't come soon enough.

"Until VDOT does something, I'm scared to travel this road every day, she said.