No Center Divider Makes U.S. 23 Treacherous, Residents Say

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

"It was like a screeching and then like a loud bam," said Green Oak Township resident Betty Max.

Max was gardening Sunday afternoon when she heard it.

"I looked up and I saw this car like flying through the air," she said.

Max described the collision that killed five people and critically injured four others Sunday afternoon on U.S. 23. A northbound Toyota Prius traveled across the median, hitting a southbound Chevrolet Blazer.

"Both vehicles were extremely mangled and almost unrecognizable," said Greek Oak Township Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Gentry.

Gentry got to the scene within minutes.

"Three of the victims, all younger children, had to be removed from the Blazer by my standards because there was a threat of fire," he said. "The remaining five victims were pinned in the vehicle and had to be cut out using hydraulic equipment."

Max lives just off the freeway where the cars hit. She says it's a dangerous road--an accident waiting to happen.

"Between Lee Road and Silverlake Road it's really bad because there's so many accidents here," she said.

On that stretch of the freeway, there's no center divider. Fire officials say MDOT was supposed to install stainless steel cables to prevent crossover accidents like sunday's, but, it hasn't happened yet.

"That steel barrier, if it had been in place, probably would have stopped the northbound vehicle from crossing into the southbound," Gentry said.

MDOT tells us those steel cables will go up, starting in Spring 2011. They say it'll happen in conjunction with another project to minimize costs and delays on the road.


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