June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

After 2 crashes Friday, Montville Twp. officials want change

Above is a video of the second of two crashes from Friday at the intersection of Poe Road and state Route 57. A video of the first accident is at the bottom of the page.

MONTVILLE TWP. — Two crashes hours apart at the same intersection have township officials calling for a traffic light, flashing stop signs or other traffic control improvements at Poe Road and state Route 57.

Montville Police Chief Terry Grice said there have been many crashes at the intersection.

“There has been more than just these two,” Grice said.

Poe Road and state Route 57 is the site of two near-identical crashes Friday involving eastbound vehicles going through the eastbound stop sign. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAVID KNOX)

The first crash happened at 7:10 a.m. Friday when a Buick sedan, eastbound on Poe Road, went through the stop sign at state Route 57 and crashed into a northbound tractor-trailer.

The driver of the Buick sedan, James G. Sell, 63, of Wadsworth, was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he remained in critical condition Sunday evening.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Thomas D. States, 69, of Brunswick, was taken to Akron General Hospital but was released by Sunday.

The sedan also struck a Medina County Achievement Center school bus, but the only two aboard — the driver and another center staff member — were not injured.

No one was injured in the second crash, which occurred at 5:15 Friday afternoon.

Again, an eastbound vehicle — this time an SUV — went through the stop sign, but managed to narrowly avoid a head-on collision with a northbound vehicle on state Route 57 while clipping a southbound vehicle.

Both the morning and afternoon crashes were captured by a surveillance camera mounted at the corner, on top of the Montville Township Safety Service Center.

The investigations into the crashes aren’t complete.

On Friday, Montville police Sgt. Chris LaFond speculated Sell went through the stop sign because he was medically stricken or his brakes failed.

Grice said weather may have been a factor in the second crash. “It had begun snowing.”

The chief said township trustees already have done what it can to improve safety at the intersection.

“On the southeast corner, they took down two houses and several trees to clear the sightline to the south,” Grice said.

He said the Ohio Department of Transportation added a flashing yellow caution sign on state Route 57 to alert northbound traffic approaching the Poe Road intersection. He state also reduced the speed limit to 45 mph on the highway between Poe Road north to the Interstate 71 overpass.

But the chief said more improvements are needed.

“We definitely need to do something in addition to what is already there,” he said. “Maybe you do the solar paneled stop signs.”

Ron Bischof, chairman of the township board of trustees, said a full traffic signal would be better.

“Ideally it would be a full red-green light,” he said.

Bischof said the trustees wrote a letter to the Ohio Department of Transportation last year requesting a traffic signal for the intersection “because we have the fire department and EMT there (at the township Safety Service Center).”

Bischof said the state rejected the request after doing a study.

“They said it doesn’t warrant a traffic light,” he said.

Bischof said he and the other two trustees will meet Thursday with Grice and the township fire chief to discuss the situation.

“Once again, we’re going to inform the director of ODOT at Ashland (the district office) about that intersection.”

Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.