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Grieving families partnering with ODOT to help fix deadly intersection

Grieving families partnering with ODOT to help fix deadly intersection (WKEF/WRGT)

SPRING VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Two grieving families are starting to get the change they want, after ODOT released plans to change a deadly intersection.

Brook Fudge and Sherill Cruea died last year, when their motorcycle collided with a car at U.S. 42 and West Spring Valley Paintersville Rd. Thursday afternoon, fresh flowers and mementos has been placed on the makeshift memorial sitting at the corner.

For Sherill’s mom, Tonie Cruea, it’s deja vu every time she passes it.

“It’s like I just got the phone call again,” she told FOX 45’s Shavon Anderson.

Inside the Spring Valley Fire Department, Cruea gripped a framed picture of her daughter.

“She was 25 years old,” she said. “She would’ve been 26 on March 7.”

Nearby, the family of Brook Fudge also gathered with pictures.

“He’s an amazing little brother,” his sister Heather Talty said. “Summer’s coming, and it’s just not going to be the same without him.”

Both families got a first look at newly released renderings to improve safety at the intersection. ODOT data revealed nine crashes occurred at that intersection in 2017. There were seven crashes in 2016, up from three in both 2015 and 2014.

The four options proposed by ODOT include installing a traffic signal at the intersection, or three other options that restrict and reroute traffic using an ‘R-Cut’ design. In one case, a vehicle would have to turn away from the intersection, then use a U-Turn lane to proceed to the other side of the road. You can view the detailed renderings here.

“I’m never going to be the person I was before October 22, and I just don’t want another family to go through this,” Cruea said.

The tangible ideas follow a months-long push from the community.

“This literally started out with just a simple friend wanting to help us,” Talty said.

Last year, Brook’s best friend Tylor started petition to get the state’s attention.

“I didn’t think we’d hear back for a while,” said Tylor Penny. “But it’s happening quicker than we thought it would.”

ODOT engineers told FOX 45 that the intersection was on their radar prior to the fatal crash in October. The crash confirmed the need to speed up talks to re-design the intersection. Although renderings have been released, nothing is set in stone. ODOT has to submit a final proposal in April, and then get approval and funding that could take until around June. Once the agency clears those hurdles, then a plan on construction can begin.

If you want able to make it to the meeting, you still have 30 days to submit for public comment on the project here.

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