Locals debate need for stop light at Knott County intersection

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

CARR CREEK, Ky (WYMT) - Does two fatal crashes in less than one year mean a stop light is needed at an intersection?
Sate highway officials say no.

On Thursday, there was a deadly crash at the junction of Highway 15 and Kentucky 160 in Knott County. That is the second fatal accident since December.

The stepmother of the 18-year-old killed in the wreck seven months ago Friday tells WYMT the road is treacherous.

Jenny Christene Watts was only 18 when she crashed her car turning onto Highway 15 in Knott County last year. She did not survive. It is a loss stepmother Lyndsey Whitt is still coming to grips with.

"Our best understanding is that she was unable to see that there was an oncoming car," said Whitt.

Watts' accident happened on December 11, 2013. Fast forward seven months and law enforcement were at the same intersection cleaning up another fatal wreck.

"I passed the coroner. I passed a funeral procession on the way home. I passed the vehicle as it was being towed away and it just made everything all real again," said Whitt.

Most drivers will tell you the stretch of 15 is dangerous; however, Mary Westfall-Holbrook with the Transportation Department said the intersection of 15 and 160 does not necessarily warrant a stop light.

"We have looked at our crash data and we do not find any large amounts of accidents there at all," said Westfall-Holbrook.

But Whitt has a hard time believing that.

"I find that astonishing. I think that one life is far too many to lose to something like this, especially when it is as seemingly simple as changing the type of light that it is there," said Whitt.

Watts' stepmother hopes officials will replace the flashing lights at the intersection with a fully operational stop light.

"None of us can drive by the scene of the accident without you know breaking down into tears," said Whitt.

Whitt said she has considered starting a petition to get a stop light at the intersection. But transportation officials stress the stop sign and flashing lights already there are sufficient.

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