It is the second fatal accident in four months at the intersection; MDOT says it will soon install traffic lights on Hwy. 45 at the Southwest Ave. and Pratts Road intersections.
A Monday morning accident at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 45 and Southwest Avenue in Baldwyn has left a Booneville man dead.
Kim Caver, 58, was pronounced dead on the scene after a traffic accident at the intersection near the Git-N-Go gas station and convenience store. Southwest Avenue is also known as Lee County Road 2878.
On Monday around 11 a.m., Baldwyn Police Department officers responded to the call. They discovered a silver Honda Accord with a female adult driver had a collision with Caver, who was driving a motorcycle. Authorities said Caver was traveling southbound on Hwy. 45, while the female driver was traveling west on Southwest Avenue.
The accident remains under investigation. According to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT)
reports and Baldwyn authorities, 13 accidents at this intersection since 2010 have been reported and resulted in three fatalities – one in December 2012 and two this year. The reports also note that the roads were dry with no inclement weather during all 13 of the accidents. Ten of the accidents were in mid-daylight while only one was at night and one at dusk.
The dangers of the intersection have long been discussed around town and at city board meetings, even as recently as this fall.
“This a very busy intersection especially in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening when people are getting off work from the factories,” resident Rita Bell said to the Baldwyn Board of Aldermen during a fall monthly business meeting. “My granddaughter was involved in one of those accidents, and one more accident is too many and too late to do something about it.”
Bell, along with hundreds of others who have signed a petition to the MDOT, has been seeking a traffic light at this intersection for some time. It looks like they may finally get their wish.
“After the recent Safety Project Study of the Harry A. Martin Industrial Park trafficked areas, there is a design project underway that we are working on as quickly as possible,” MDOT District Engineer Mark Holly told The Baldwyn News on Wednesday morning. However, he could not provide a timeline for the project.
According to Holly, the project will include:
- A red light installment functional 24/7 at the intersection of Highway 45 ByPass and Southwest Street
- A red light installment functional 24/7 at the intersection of Highway 45 ByPass and Pratts Road
- A directional median road way out of Fashion Way Drive (at Hancock Fabrics) which prevents left turns (turning north bound from west side of Highway 45); traffic will be directed south bound with the road way from Fashion Way Drive.
This can’t come fast enough for Bell and others.
“Cars are coming and going and taking chances and are in a rush, and you can’t always see clearly from all directions with sunrise and sunset,” Bell said.
Russ Vickers, minister of Hillcrest Church of Christ in Baldwyn, has also taken note of the need for improvements to safety in the corridor.
“All we want is safety for those travelling in our area,” Vickers said. “I am especially concerned about our teenage children who are driving in this area. My son will get his license early next year and we have talked over and over again about what to do at intersections like this. He fully understands, but we still have concerns about this particular intersection.
All I want is for him, and others in our community, is to be able to drive in a safe environment. This isn’t it; something needs to be done.”