RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Public outcry about a dangerous north Raleigh intersection is prompting change.
The list of wrecks on Louisburg Road at Fox Road got longer Tuesday morning when two cars collided at the intersection, which is about a mile south of the Interstate 540 and Highway 407 interchange. The North Carolina Department of Transportation documented 63 crashes at the crossing from 2013 through 2017.
Two people died in a fiery wreck at the same site in August 2018. Investigators recovered the bodies of 59-year-old Francisco Jaquez and his girlfriend’s 9-year-old son, Alfred Rodriguez Inoa, from inside one of the vehicles. Three other people were injured.
Lisa Wilkins walked away from the Tuesday morning wreck shaken up, but without any broken bones or substantial bruises.
“My friend, who was the driver, is not standing here with me because she is at WakeMed waiting to find out if she has a neck injury,” Wilkins said.
“This could have been another fatality, honestly, and I don’t want to see my daughter, who’s just 18 years old and an inexperienced driver, coming down here and experiencing what I just did this morning, or like my friend here has seen multiple times, people being in really horrific accidents at this particular intersection.”
Wilkins said her daughter just started a new job. Her way to work goes through the Louisburg-Fox intersection, but Wilkins now wants her daughter to consider an alternate route.
Jennyfer Salazar came to Wilkins’s aid Tuesday morning. In the 18 years she has lived in a house adjacent to the intersection, she has seen a lot of wrecks not far from her front door.
“More than 20. Two years ago there were some dead people over here. Last year it was a police officer. His car was completely destroyed, almost went on fire,” Salazar said.
Wilkins said Salazar’s reaction to the wreck was obviously routine.
“I’m thankful for this woman who came out immediately to help me and handed me her phone to call 911. I thought to myself that as soon as she handed me that phone, that she’s been through this before,” Wilkins said. “She lives in that house. She has seen this before. That was my gut, and it was right.”
Salazar said the neighborhood needs help, and her suggested solution is a stoplight.
Less than a week after the deadly crash in August 2018, the victims’ family and community members went to a public forum with NCDOT representatives. Engineers proposed a “super street” design which would permit left turns from Louisburg Road onto Fox Road, but block left turns from Fox onto Louisburg. The plan would have cost about $400,000 with a 2020 completion date.
Sean Williams, an NCDOT spokesperson, said Tuesday that there is a new plan to put traffic lights at the intersection.
“We heard folks at that public meeting that (said) they wanted a solution quickly. We said thank you. We needed that feedback and so we wanted to get this solution that they were more comfortable with,” Williams said.
“We’re going to come in with a signalized intersection as quick as we can. We’ll put in wood poles for those signals and then come in once we have the steel poles and put those in to replace those wood poles after.”
Williams said NCDOT will start accepting bids for the work in March, with a goal of having lights up by the end of April. The permanent steel poles should be in place by the end of June. He said it will take some time to complete the process because federal funding is involved, and tariffs on steel are causing some delays.