October 24, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
38°F

Signs coming to crash site

Cars at stop signs on Ryan Road wait for traffic to clear on state Route 162 in Lafayette Township. The intersection will be getting additional warning signs following a series of crashes. (DAVID KNOX / GAZETTE)

LAFAYETTE TWP. — Additional traffic warning signs are planned for an intersection that township officials have cited as dangerous.

After a car-motorcycle crash at Ryan Road and state Route 162 on Aug. 20, township trustees asked for help from the Ohio Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Public Safety and Ohio Department of Transportation.

Authorities said Andrew P. Gerspacher, 31, of Wadsworth, was riding his motorcycle west on Route 162 when he struck a southbound car on Ryan Road that pulled out in front of him on Aug. 20.

Gerspacher was seriously injured. The car driver, Stefan Hornung, 66, of Medina, was treated for minor injuries at the scene of the crash.

Officials say there have been several crashes at the intersection, which has stop signs on Ryan Road.

“It’s not just the number of crashes but the severity of the crashes when we have them,” Trustee Nanci Shanley said.

Shanley met Friday morning with Lt. Bill Haymaker, commander of the patrol’s Medina post, and Matt Simon, ODOT administrator for Medina County.

Simon agreed to erect signs on state Route 162 warning both eastbound and westbound motorists of a dangerous intersection ahead, Shanley said. Signs on Ryan Road would remind drivers that traffic on the state route does not have to stop.

Shanley said the ultimate goal would be a red and yellow flashing light at the crossway or a solar-powered LED stop sign.

The patrol already has committed to target enforcement patrols at the intersection, which began Thursday. Shanley said in their first hour, they wrote two tickets for failure to yield.

Shanley said the township also will coordinate with the Medina County Sheriff’s Office to provide maximum coverage in tandem with the patrol, which will post troopers there several times a week during high traffic hours.

Trustee Lynda Bowers questioned last week whether ODOT is being notified about all the crashes because it only relies on accident data provided by the patrol. Bowers said some of the crashes were handled by the Sheriff’s Office, which is not responsible for providing crash data to the state.

She said there were at least six accidents there during the winter and that number is more than what ODOT has recorded.

Bowers said she has looked through Sheriff’s Office dispatch records to provide ODOT with the additional information and the township is awaiting the results of a traffic study. Lafayette already has cut back some trees as the result of a line-of-sight study.

“If you’re sitting there and you look left and right, in the time it takes you to look to the right, a car can come up over that hill,” Bowers said.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.