Traffic light to be installed Route 32 at Ten Oaks Road was site of fatal crash

April 16, 1997|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

A traffic light will be installed as early as August at Route 32 and Ten Oaks Road in Glenelg, the site of a collision Thursday that fatally injured a Glenelg High School teacher.

Tricia Ann Rayeski, a 24-year-old special education teacher at Glenelg, died early Friday of massive internal injuries sustained when her car was hit by a pickup truck.

Her death spurred community members to collect almost 400 signatures on a petition asking for a light at the intersection. But state highway officials say they decided two weeks ago to put a traffic signal there.

For Sandy Carter, a lab technician at Ten Oaks Pharmacy -- where more than 100 signatures were gathered -- the traffic light will come too late.

"There's no reason someone so young should have died simply because of a bad intersection," she said. "We are tired of accidents there, and her death made us realize it's enough."

Jean Vanderpool, a business teacher at Glenelg, added: "If the stoplight had been there and had been red, I know Tricia wouldn't have pulled out onto that road."

According to a police report, the accident occurred at 2: 50 p.m. when a 1986 Ford Ranger pickup hit Rayeski's 1993 Chevrolet Beretta as she was making a left turn from Ten Oaks onto northbound Route 32. Rayeski, who lived in the 8700 block of Autumn Hill Drive in Ellicott City, was on her way home from school after running errands when the accident occurred.

The truck -- driven by a man identified by police as Glenn Albert Short, 31, of the 2600 block of Flora Corner Road -- was traveling south on Route 32 and struck Rayeski's Chevrolet on the driver's side.

Police said Rayeski failed to yield to approaching traffic.

The problem, many residents say, is the speed of traffic headed south on Route 32 toward Clarksville. The speed limit on the nine-mile stretch from Interstate 70 to Clarksville is 55 mph, but many drivers average 60 to 65 mph, state highway officials said.

"There's poor visibility for anyone pulling out onto Route 32 because you just can't tell how fast cars are going and whether they are turning," said Sharon Keeny of Dayton, who had a similar accident at Ten Oaks last month, destroying her Volvo.

"I know [Rayeski] probably never saw the truck," Keeny said. "The only difference in my living and dying was a fraction of a second."

Donald Crane of Dayton, who travels the road, said: "It's daunting for me to even risk turning left from Ten Oaks onto Route 32. You have to have a tremendous amount of courage or foolish to do it."

Since improvements to Route 32 that enable traffic to bypass Clarksville -- south of the accident site -- were opened in March 1996, traffic along the road that stretches from Annapolis to Eldersburg has increased greatly, state highway officials said. A February traffic study shows about 14,600 vehicles in a 12-hour period travel along Route 32, compared with about 10,700 vehicles in a 1992 study.

State highway officials say it was the increase in traffic -- and not a high rate of accidents -- that led to the decision to install the signal, which should be up by late summer or early fall.

County police said there have been six accidents at the intersection so far this year, compared with 11 last year. State highway officials say that last week's was the first fatality at the intersection.

Meanwhile, school officials are providing counseling for students and faculty. On Friday, teachers read a statement explaining the accident to students.

About a half-dozen faculty members attended the funeral Monday in Rayeski's hometown of Plymouth, Pa.

Rayeski's sister, Suzanne, said Tricia moved to Howard two years ago to take the job at Glenelg after substitute teaching at a Pennsylvania vocational-technical school and graduating from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa., with a degree in education.

"She was a great teacher because she knew when to be tough on kids and when to relax," said Alanna Dean, a senior at Glenelg. "She was really great. It's dangerous and scary that something that bad could happen right here to someone so young."

Pub Date: 4/16/97

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