Accident raises driver concerns

April 15, 2009 9:06:02 PM PDT
New safety concerns are surfacing after a dump truck accident pinned a woman in her car for hours.On Monday, a dump truck flipped on its side and landed on top of a Honda Civic.

The driver of the Honda, 25-year-old Kara Walden Benton, survived the crash. She was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. Since then, she has been listed in good condition. Her husband, 26-year-old Chad Benton, was also hurt in the accident.

The truck driver told troopers someone ran him off the road, with barely any shoulder. He says he tried to regain control, but his truck flipped.

Drivers say the main problem is the lack of shoulder on the road. It dips down then back up for the train tracks. And Eyewitness News has learned there are no plans to fix it, despite some calling it an obvious danger.

Residents living near the road say it's not a shock that the accident happened on Davis Drive, because accidents are common.

"When you think about it there is no shoulder, resident Clark Nelson said. "So it is, there's not a whole lot of room for error if you're driving a big rig or whatever."

"A young girl from our church came down, ran off the road, went across the railroad and ended up upside down on the tracks out there," said Betty Burnette, who has lived in the area for 50 years. "We've had several of that, same wreck, just up the road, several of them."

Troopers say the road isn't the problem, drivers are.

"I've never been to an accident right here before," NC Highway Patrol Trooper M. K. Young said. "It is a low shoulder but if you stay on the roadway you don't have to worry about it. There are low shoulders all over the county and all over the state."

The district engineer for Wake County admits the tail end of Davis Drive has not kept up with growth, as it has become a main thoroughfare from Apex to Research Triangle Park.

In the RTP, Davis Drive is expanding from two to four lanes, but near Apex it's the only portion that will stay two lanes. And there are no plans on the books to widen the shoulders.

Residents fear that decision will eventually cost someone their life.

"If you look at the aftermath it's just amazing that anyone could've gotten out of that," Nelson said.

The DOT says based on state records there have only been two other accidents over the last three years, which is not a very high rate to prompt any changes.


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