Accidents On Highway 254 Spur Safety Forum

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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August 30, 2010

UPDATE

A rash of deadly accidents has some Kansas drivers calling for change. Some people are calling K-254 a hazardous highway, and now they're asking the state to take action. The topic made for a forum at The Benton Church Monday night.

In March, an accident at K-254 and Greenwich claimed the life of 21-year-old Matthew Sciarrotta.

"This was my baby, my youngest child. He had so many dreams," said Deb Stewart, Sciarrotta's mother.

Sciarrotta died after someone failed to yield, hitting and killing him.

"My son died for no reason whatsoever, somebody was just negligent," said Stewart.

So, now she's calling on drivers to be more aware. She's also calling on transportation leaders to make K-254 more safe.

"Wake up, wake up, pay attention," said Stewart. "This is happening way too often out here."

She was just one person to attend a forum where residents shared comments and suggestions with the Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, and police.

"We're here to listen, and I'm here to carry those results, or those opinions, back to our engineers. So we hope to gain some new information tonight, maybe some new perspectives on it," said KDoT spokesman Tom Hein.

The Department of Transportation says there's a good possibility it will take action on many of the suggestions people offered at the forum. Some of these measures would include putting up larger stop signs, installing rumble strips, and posting more visible stop ahead signs.

"Hopefully they'll get that person that's not paying attention like they should to notice them, to make that better decision," said Hein.

And asking drivers to make better decisions is the plea Stewart's making, as she continues to grieve the loss of her son.

"Think about your own kids, if that's what it takes. Think about what you'd do if you lost one of them," said Stewart.

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Changes could be on the way for a Kansas highway some are calling hazardous. Transportation and law enforcement leaders are meeting tonight about possible safety issues on Highway 254.

A little over two weeks ago, a crash involving three vehicles killed two people at the intersection of K-254 and Greenwich. In the next two days there would be two more crashes at K-254 and Webb, one of them deadly.

Following the rash of accidents, the Department of Transportation launched a crash analysis of the stretch of highway to find whether changes are necessary to make the roadway more safe. That's also what KDoT, Highway Patrol, and other local law enforcement leaders will discuss at tonight's forum.

Tonight's meeting is open to the public. It starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Benton Church. The church is located at Highway 254 and Main Street in Benton.

We will have a crew in attendance, with details on KAKE News at 6 and 10.


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