'Dead Man's Curve' Worries Residents


December 06, 1991|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff writer

When Connie Kilpatrick looks out her dining room window to the intersection of Duvall Highway and Pine Haven Road in Pasadena, she does so with fear.

"It's just luck that people aren't dying on that road," Kilpatrick said. "I'm afraid I'm going to go out there and try andhelp someone and find someone dead. I don't want it to be one of my neighbors. I don't want it to be someone in my family."

Kilpatrick is concerned about what she and some neighbors consider a dangerous intersection in their neighborhood, a danger that appears to be increasing.

Duvall Highway is curved and inclined. There are signs posted stating the 30 mph speed limit. And, from Pine HavenDrive, it is a little difficult to see the vehicles coming down Duvall, but not impossible. Neither road appears to be especially dangerous.

But residents say they have good reason for labeling the roadways "Dead Man's Curve."

The State Highway Administration recorded five accidents at the intersection during 1989, four causing injuries, but none fatal. In 1990, only one accident causing injury was reported. Statistics have yet to be compiled for this year.

Pat Williams, an SHA spokeswoman, said the numbers alone did not reflect a serious problem with the intersection.

But area residents said they believe many accidents go unreported. Residents said they have seen at least four accidents in the pastfew months, ranging from fender-benders to more serious ones.

"In just the last three weeks, there's been some kind of accident there nearly every week," said Wright Fields Jr., whose home sits off the intersection. "Just last Saturday night,there was a wreck here. You can see where (the yard is) all messed up over there."

Tire tracks can still be seen in Fields' yard several days after the accident.

Fields, who moved into his home with his family just four months ago, said a serious accident has happened at the intersection nearly every month.

Wooden poles, left by the previous owner, are leaning or have been knocked over by vehicles running off the road into Fields' yard.

"I've asked about having a guardrail put up," Fields said. "But I was told a guardrail might causesomeone to lose their life. What do they think is going to happen ifpeople keep flipping over those poles."

Each time a vehicle hits the wooden poles, Fields said, he goes out and attempts to erect themagain.

"I'm afraid somebody's going to end up in my house one of these days," he said.

Neighbors aren't sure what's causing the accidents. Kilpatrick said she's driven both roads and never had any problem. But unlike the drivers she watches traveling the road, Kilpatrick said she obeys the speed limit.

"Most of the time people are just flying down that road," Kilpatrick said. "I don't know if a (traffic) light will help. Maybe we need speed bumps or those things in theroad to make people slow down.

"I just want something to be done.If I have to go around and get all my neighbors to sign a petition, then I'll do it. If we wait another day, it could mean somebody's life."

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