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Is Route 15 Intersection Near Sunbury Safe?

The Sunbury Daily Item is reporting about a safety issue on Route 15. The question of safety at an intersection where 3 deaths and 8 crashes have occurred over a 5 years stretch has been raised.  What do you think?

By Rick Dandes

LEWISBURG — The intersection at Route 15 and Col. John Kelly Road, where a Milton woman was killed in a two-car crash Sunday afternoon, has been the scene of two other fatal accidents and eight crashes over the last five years, a state Department of Transportation official said Monday.

Hazel E. Hock, 83, died in Monday’s collision. She was driving a 1998 Mercury Mystique and attempted to make a left turn from Col. John Kelly Road to go north on Route 15. She drove into the path of a 17-year-old Milton boy, who was southbound in a 1993 Honda Civic CP, state police at Milton said.

The teen’s vehicle struck Hock’s car in the front left driver’s door, causing her vehicle to spin 180 degrees and come to rest in the right southbound lane. Hock was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two previous fatalities at the intersection in Kelly Township, Union County, occurred on June 15, 2009, and Dec. 23. Route 15 has two northbound and two southbound lanes, and entry to Route 15 from Col. John Kelly Road is regulated by a stop sign. The intersection is about two miles north of Lewisburg.

Route 15 south was closed for about six hours Sunday while police investigated the fatality.

Elvin Stoltzfus, a township supervisor, said Monday that the intersection has been the subject of meetings with PennDOT over the past few years.

“We talked about different options at the intersection, such as installing a traffic light or maybe a turning lane, all different kinds of scenarios,” he said. “The problem was in how PennDOT allots funds for various intersections deemed ‘risky.’”

Apparently, Stoltzfus said, “That intersection did not meet the criteria level that would have led to funding a light or something at that intersection.”

He was not sure what that criteria, or “risk” level, was, and officials were not available Monday night to provide more information.

“One thing for sure,” he said, “the amount of traffic at that intersection and in that area is increasing fast. I drive that road, and there are some times when it is very difficult to make that turn left going north on Route 15. I can see that people can get frustrated and impatient waiting in line to make a turn. I don’t know what can be done, what with all the traffic now heading to all the retail stores in the area. To me, a turning lane or a light is the best option, but it’s PennDOT that makes those decisions.”

Stoltzfus said PennDOT officials have said there are many similar intersections throughout the commonwealth that require attention. “But this intersection, I think something should be done,” he said.

The teenage driver involved in Sunday’s crash was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, for treatment. State police do not release the names of juveniles, so information on his condition could not be obtained.

A dangerous intersection may be caused by negligence. A personal injury lawyer can investigate the issue. If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Pennsylvania car or motorcycle accident contact Central Pennsylvania based Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers today.

Schmidt Kramer. Ph: (717) 888-8888.