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N. KY. Officials, Police Boost Safety On "Deadly Double A" Highway

ALEXANDRIA - The combination of speed and stop lights on the AA Highway in Campbell County has had tragic results, many deadly accidents often involving large trucks - prompting multi-county agencies to cooperate in a major safety push, reports N.KY.COM, the Web site for the Cincinnati Enquirier.

The latest crash, which killed a 14-year-old Alexandria girl in July 2007, renewed concerns over the AA Highway's safety, which have simmered since it opened in 1990.

Alexandria Police since March have used a grant to beef up patrols in an effort to make the highway safer and address what many say is its No. 1 problem: speeding, reports N.KY.COM.

Many motorists who regularly travel the AA Highway, which has a 55 mph speed limit, would like further measures taken.

"I think it is no more dangerous than the interstate," said Campbell County Police Chief Keith Hill. "Every jurisdiction has a highway that is more susceptible to crashes. Ours just happens to be the AA Highway."

Drivers who don't live in the area, particularly truckers, speed down the highway, sometimes running red lights, local motorists say, N.KY.COM reports.

Such was the case on July 24, 2007, at the Poplar Ridge Road intersection in Alexandria.

A tractor-trailer driven by Gregory Gibson, 43, of Virginia was going what authorities estimate at 70 mph when it ran the red light and broadsided a pickup truck carrying Heather Lynn Evans, her brother Jacob, now 9, and driven by her mother, Leah Michelle Evans.

Heather died. Jacob and Leah were seriously injured. The truck driver, Gregory Gibson, 43, was sentenced last week to 12 months' home incarceration, probation and 100 hours of community service.

Rick Turner, who lives about 1,000 yards from that intersection, said he sees cars and tractor-trailers running red lights every week.

"Because the light turns green doesn't mean you shouldn't look before you go," Turner said.

Brian Evans has sat at the Poplar Ridge Road intersection of the AA Highway where his daughter was killed last year and has witnessed multiple cars and trucks running red lights, reports the Equirer Web site.

That has led Brian Evans to call for cameras at intersections to catch people running red lights. Other residents also have asked the state for cameras on the AA Highway.

"I think a better police presence and the knowledge that a camera would capture someone running a red light, that would change people's behavior," Evans said.

Hill, the police chief, said state law prevents the use of cameras to catch traffic infractions. He told the Cincinnati Enqurier that Kentucky law requires that a police officer witness the infraction to cite the driver. Cameras also would require more manpower to review the footage, Hill said.

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