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Voice: More traffic havoc at Fourth and Smoketree, yet nothing being done

August 15, 2001

It is early in the evening. Persons are carrying two little kids whose faces and bodies are all bloodied as they cry.

A mother is bent at the waist, in obvious pain, barely able to walk. She is in panic, shouting concerns about her children as persons help her out of traffic's path.

A man is being steadied and held down by two young men on the median as others run to him with a first aid kit. The left side of his face, left arm and upper torso are drenched in blood. His face appears haggard — dazed.

Persons are running from a mortuary, fast food restaurants, a convenience store and a service station toward two wrecked vehicles in the intersection or to render aid to those injured. Some have cellular phones adhered to their ears, calling for help. More persons come. Some park their vehicles in the way and others driving by are slowing down or even stop in the roadway to view the accident.

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Within minutes the humid air is filled with sirens (getting to be my favorite song); emergency vehicles are arriving from the north, south and west. Uniformed emergency personnel quickly scramble to see where they can help.

Quite a scenario, huh? Like something out of a Spielberg movie?

No, it is the continued legacy of the intersection at Fourth Street (Highway 86) and Smoketree Drive. After letters to the editor, questions to PROBE and the city's admissions that this intersection has had the most accidents in recent years, there are still no traffic controls at that intersection!

Yet, there is more building being done in the area. The nice, big motel being erected just east of the intersection should attract more traffic to the area. There are plans for another restaurant to be built just west of the motel. The empty buildings in the area could be filled by other businesses. This would attract more traffic. This should make driving through the intersection more interesting!

Tuesday evening I had just sat down to type a report for my grandson when I heard the familiar screech and thud coming from that direction. However, the screech was not as long and the thud was not as loud as on other occasions.

Regardless, I usually go to render aid or help in traffic control since I received training in both when I was in the service and in law enforcement.

When I went outside I saw the scene previously described. There were plenty of persons helping those injured, so I went and directed traffic as I usually do during these accidents.

What made this accident worse than most was little kids were hurt. Maybe I should not be concerned because blood tends to make injuries appear worse. Maybe I should be like the city fathers and perhaps only be concerned after there is loss of life.

School is starting again soon and this is the favorite place to park the school buses after school events because of the choices of fast food restaurants. I hope one of these students does not become the immediate factor for the city to place traffic controls in the intersection.

JOSE P. COSIO

El Centro

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