Study funded in light of fatality

Brian Cuaron

July 12, 2011 at 2:12 a.m.

A traffic-safety study was funded in light of a fatal crash in Victoria on Sunday.

Logan Curtis, 18, was driving a 2008 Ford F-150 when he struck the vehicle of Judy and David Sullivan. The crash occurred on U.S. Highway 87, near the highway's intersection with Farm-to-Market Road 447.

Judy Sullivan, 65, was killed.

The Victoria Metropolitan Planning Organization's policy advisory committee allocated $21,000 on Tuesday for the study. Ray Miller, deputy director for development services, said the crash was one reason why the study was brought forward.

"We have been aware that it is a traffic problem for quite some time," said Councilman Tom Halepaska, who chairs the committee.

Kevin Janak, Victoria County commissioner for Precinct 2, expressed concern about the intersection at the committee's Feb. 8 meeting, records show.

Diana Rhodes, president of board of trustees for the Nursery Independent School District, had written a letter about the intersection's safety to the Texas Department of Transportation in summer 2010. Nursery Elementary School is located near the intersection.

She was at the meeting, stressing the need for something to be done.

"When Sunday's wreck happened, it was time to take action," said Rhodes, who also lives near the intersection.

Halepaska said the committee was aware of traffic-safety problems. But he said the problem was that there wasn't enough money to address them all.

"Unfortunately, accident criteria is what they look at," said Randy Bena, area engineer for TxDOT.

"We have a lot of locations out here, unfortunately, where we have fatalities," Bena added.

Miller said he didn't know how long the study would take. He said the study would satisfy the requirements for an alternative analysis and preliminary environmental study for a highway project to get started.



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