Fatal crash elicits cry for four-way stop at 199th Street and 29th Avenue

July accident killed 17 year old

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian special projects reporter

Published:

Updated: August 6, 2013, 7:18 PM

 

Those who live near the intersection of Northeast 199th Street and 29th Avenue are calling for a four-way stop to replace the two-way stop there after a July car accident that killed 17-year-old Kaitlin Miller.

The father of Miller’s best friend echoed that plea at the Clark County commissioners’ Tuesday meeting.

“My daughter was driving the car in the accident that killed her best friend,” Dan Chandler of Vancouver said.

Grace Chandler, 17, who will be entering her senior year at Skyview, was driving the car that failed to stop at the intersection of Northeast 199th Street and 29th Avenue. The car was southbound on 29th around 7:10 p.m. July 1 when it went through the stop sign and was struck in the passenger’s side by an eastbound SUV. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation is not yet complete.

The county found that the amount of traffic on Northeast 29th Avenue is not high enough to warrant a four-way stop, as outlined by the requirements in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

“You should think about local knowledge,” Chandler said. “We elected smart folks who care deeply about the community. Don’t let a manual trump that.”

Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart replied, “We will be looking into the feasibility of a four-way (stop).”

Earlier safety improvements

Before the accident, the county had installed new stop signs that are brighter and more visible. Additionally, “cross traffic does not stop” warning signs were replaced at the intersection with similar surface treatments, and “STOP” was painted in white on the roadway before each sign. The county installed “stop ahead” signs on each side of Northeast 29th Avenue before the intersection. All the additions, part of an annual traffic safety improvement program, are intended to alert motorists as they approach the intersection.

“We still have some safety improvement to go,” Clark County public works spokesman Jeff Mize said after the commissioners’ meeting. The county will add raised reflective pavement markers at the intersection on all four approaches.

“Our preliminary analysis says traffic doesn’t warrant a four-way stop there, nor does accident history. If you put in too many stop signs, they actually can be counterproductive,” Mize said. “Anytime we have a tragedy like this, we always look at the circumstances. We will continue to look at this, we will continue to discuss it, and we will make any safety improvements that are prudent.”