3 Years After Light Given A Go, Dangerous Intersection Takes Another Life

A deadly accident on a dangerous East Texas intersection 3 years after local leaders approved a plan to make it safer. 46 year old Tracy King died Monday morning when Tyler police say she pulled out in front of an 18-wheeler on the Highway 271-Loop 323 extension. The 18-wheeler sent King's vehicle into the path of another truck, then the load shifted, falling onto yet another truck.

Amazingly, no other serious injuries were reported. Now we want to make sure you know exactly where this intersection is. It's at the Whataburger, Valero station. We found out the City of Tyler approved a safeguard at this intersection In 2005. That has neighbors wondering just what is the hold-up?

Margaret Brandt heard the familiar sound Monday morning, the screeching and immediately dialed 9-1-1, "Wake you up, wreck, wreck, wreck," said Brandt, "You hear it and you automatically reach for the phone. You know what has happened because it has happened so many many times."

She's lived right across from the intersection since 1970 and says countless cars have ended up in her front yard. Big accidents like the one Monday morning and small one's that don't usually get reported.

"They get out look at each other, talk, exchange information," said Brandt, "That happens 5 or10 times a day."

More than that Margaret can't help but think about all the lives that have ended right off her back porch

"I think they need to do something," said Brandt, "I write letters, I gripe, I call and I call."

She says little things have been done over the years but nothing that really solves the problem.

"Somebody in higher power needs to say hey guys lets put a red light there before somebody else get's killed," said Margaret.

So we went to find out about this intersection. We tried to get accident numbers but were unable to get them because of a illness with the city's statistician.

We then went to TxDOT, who said the intersection has actually been annexed by the city of Tyler. TxDOT says a study was done by the city and on February 24, 2005, txdot approved a light to go in. However, they say it is the city's responsibility to put the light up.

Now, late Monday afternoon, an official with the city confirmed, they have known about the problem at this intersection since 2005 and agreed it does warrant a traffic light. They say the design of that light is 80% complete and should be completed in one month. The intersection should be operational in about 6 months.

But right now, that is little comfort for the family of the life lost today, or the neighbors who worry this will not be the last time.

"If it's been done why aint they done nothing?," said Brandt.

Now the city also said this is one of six intersections they are phasing in the completion of, but it definitely is a priority.

Tracy King has one child, an 8 year old daughter.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com