Residents want warning lights at 183rd and MacArthur

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Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputies say a truck ran a stop sign and hit a semi, engulfing both in flames Wednesday night.  Residents of a nearby home say it took about 14 hours to clear the scene. Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputies say a truck ran a stop sign and hit a semi, engulfing both in flames Wednesday night. Residents of a nearby home say it took about 14 hours to clear the scene.
SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) -

"How many  more people have to die before you do something?"  

Stephanie Bettis and her family live near the 183rd and MacArthur intersection in Southwest Sedgwick County.  They say fatal accidents like the one Wednesday evening could be prevented with more visible stop signs.

"Heard this loud explosion and usually it's either a car wreck or trucks, thunder," Bettis said.  "And she came up because it was so loud and saw the semi and truck completely on fire."

Bettis' parents were home when a Sedgwick County Sheriff's Officer says a couple flew past the stop sign and hit the semi. 

"People run the stop sign and there's wreck after wreck," Bettis says.

That couple died.  Bettis says they aren't the only ones to suffer life-altering consequences.

"Somebody died in May.  We've had people paralyzed two, three times in the last few years from people running the signs.  It's just crazy," she said.

Bettis' family has asked the county to put up flashing lights to make the stop sign more visible.

"We've talked to several sheriff's officers before where they say that they want a flashing sign out here.  But the commissioners say that there hasn't been enough fatalities," Bettis said.

Sedgwick County Traffic Engineer Mark Borst said he only found two accidents at this intersection in the last two years when he searched the sheriff's database, one of those Wednesday night's fatal accident, the other a property damage only accident.  Here at KAKE news, we covered at least one other fatal accident there last May, when 911 callers reported an explosion.

Borst says he looks for an average of two crashes per million vehicles before considering changes to an intersection.  He estimates about 4,800 vehicles enter the 183rd and MacArthur intersection a day.  That's about 1.7 million a year.

Meanwhile, just a mile to the west and about a mile and a half to the east of 183rd and MacArthur, other nearby roads crossing MacArthur, one unpaved, do have the flashing beacons above stop signs.  Bettis and her family would like to see that at 183rd.

"People just get in the groove of things and don't even slow down half the time," she said.

Borst says adding beacons would cost less than $5,000.  But he says that wouldn't guarantee an end to fatal accidents.

"No government entity an insure, ensure and assure safety of road systems.  We can provide reasonable infrastructure," he said, adding the rest is up to drivers to be responsible.

Borst says he'll make a full review of this intersection, a standard practice after a fatal accident.  We should get the results of his review sometime this January.

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