Is a traffic signal needed at 16th Street and Highway 87?
By Robin Scott
On Thursday, August 27th, just as students were leaving the high school for lunch, a wreck occurred on Highway 87 at the 16th Street intersection. The location has been a hot spot for motor vehicle wrecks, and Thursday’s crash brought out the Dalhart Fire Department, Dalhart EMS, Texas Department of Public Safety, Hartley County Sheriff’s Office, and the Dalhart Police Department.
Capt. Stout with the Dalhart Police Department took charge of the scene of the accident as it occurred just inside city limits. Deputy Tim Bell with the Hartley County Sheriff’s Office assisted with directing traffic until the scene was cleared.
A Toyota Avalon passenger vehicle was driven by 70-year-old William Stephen Brown from Peyton, Colorado. Brown, who was on his way to Oklahoma City, was driving in the southbound lanes of Highway 87 when his vehicle was struck by an Isuzu Rodeo SUV. The SUV was driven by a high school student who was on his lunch break from Dalhart High School. The passenger vehicle flipped over before coming to rest in the grassy bar ditch near the railroad tracks. The SUV suffered damages to its front end, and the passenger vehicle was totaled.
Along with the student driver in the SUV were two other students. Paramedics with Dalhart EMS checked out the drivers and passengers and none required treatment or transport to the emergency room at CMH.
Most residents of Dalhart have witnessed a collision at or near the same location as Thursday’s wreck, which begs the question, is a traffic signal necessary at that intersection? At the time of the wreck on Thursday, the school zone lights were flashing, which warns drivers of a 30 mph speed limit. The speed limit in that area coming into town from Hartley decreases from 50 to 30 miles per hour, and there was no indication that Brown had been driving above the speed limit at the time of the crash.
Capt. Stout noted that the youth was cited for failure to yield right of way at a stop sign. He further noted that Brown was very fortunate that he did not sustain any injuries even though his vehicle flipped over.