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Deputy's wreck renews call for safer intersection

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BATON ROUGE- A crash involving an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's deputy on Sunday has renewed calls for safety improvements at the intersection of Thomas Road and Scenic Highway.

According to investigators, a truck pulled out in front of the deputy's vehicle, sending him to the hospital. The entire crash was captured on surveillance video from the "Made to Go" convenient store at that intersection.

Store owner Craig Graham has been calling for change for months.

"My biggest fear is there be an accident at night and a pedestrian be struck trying to help," Graham said.

Graham told News 2 he has documented at least 30 wrecks at the intersection.  He sent letters to elected officials and state transportation leaders recently urging them to install a traffic light there.

"There is a unique risk here like several other intersections up 61," Graham said. "Traffic count may not have called for a light, but they put one in nonetheless because they identified the risk."

Drivers are aware of the concern.

"I've almost been hit by a couple of cars myself," Todd Kinchen said.

Kinchen supports adding anything to the intersection that will keep drivers protected.

"A light would be fine," Kinchen said.  "Safety is always the best policy when people are driving like maniacs."

State transportation leaders recently began a traffic impact study on the intersection.  The study will look at traffic volume and conditions to see if any changes need to be made.

"Last night at the accident, there were people trying to help and traffic was blowing through here at 60 miles per hour," Graham said. "They can't see people trying to help."

Until something changes, other drivers also told News 2 they will remain vigilant when passing through that intersection.

"A lot of time you have to take caution for real before you pull out because you have to wait a long time," Driver Toya said. "A lot of people lose patience with sitting there at that stop sign for a long time."

The state said it would take at least 60 days to complete the traffic study.  It began in October and should be completed by December.


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