The mother of a northeast Kentucky teen who died in a crash on a curvy road is campaigning for safety as she mourns her loss.
Toni Wood’s 16-year-old son, Daniel, died May 1 when a dump truck struck his school bus on Kentucky 22 near Falmouth.
The truck’s estimated speed has not been released, and no charges have been filed against the driver. Police say the case will be presented to a grand jury in July. The Wood family filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by the driver, Francisco Yulfo and his employer, XXL Trucking.
“If you’ve ever traveled 22, you’d know that road is way too dangerous to be 55 miles per hour,” Toni Woods said. “It’s too dangerous. And something has to come out of my son’s death.”
She wants the state to ban through trucks on the road and lower the 55 mph speed limit on the curvy, two-lane state route. Petitions supporting Wood’s proposals garnered 130 signatures from people who live along the road, she said.
Wood plans to gather more signatures and send the petitions to Gov. Steve Beshear as well as other officials.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recorded 96 accidents on the 14-mile length of Kentucky 22 since Jan. 1, 2005. There were 51 in Pendleton County and 45 in Grant County, records show. Daniel Wood was the first fatality in that time.
Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples says dump trucks use the road as a shortcut between the Butler rock quarry and construction sites in Grant County. At least one dump truck overturns on the road each year, he said, and there are frequent motorcycle accidents.
“You would think the death of a 16-year-old would be enough to wake ’em up. It’s not enough. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but I’m not going to stop,” Wood said.
The family’s attorney, Phil Taliaferro, said he intends to send state officials an action plan for making the road safer. The plan was drafted by Charlie Meyers, a retired chief district engineer for Transportation Cabinet District 6 in Fort Mitchell.
It recommends the cabinet identify the most dangerous sections of the road and make spot improvements such as widening sharp curves, eliminating blind spots and drop-offs. It also calls for removing trees and utility poles from the right of way.
Taliaferro says it could be done cheaply and would create more space and better visibility on the road.
“If the governor gets behind it, if the secretary of transportation gets behind it, this can be done,” he said. “And this eliminates the most hazardous parts of this road at a very low cost.”
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com
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