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Kosciusko County intersection dangerous, locals respond

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KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. - Right now, people living in Kosciusko County are sounding off about an intersection that they think sees just too many crashes.

There was a bad crash there just Thursday that resulted from a police chase.

And while police say the driver was at fault, those living in the area say other kinds of crashes happen at the corner of State Road 13 and County Road 500 North far too frequently

There was a crash at the intersection on Tuesday, as well.

Pieces of cars are scattered on each side of the street, but there’s no way to know if these parts are from the crash Thursday or the one on Tuesday.

The high-speed chase that turned into a crash yesterday brought into light the amount of crashes at the intersection of State Road 13 and County Road 500 North in Kosciusko County.

“I heard three huge crashes and you feel the vibration in the building.” “there were car parts all over the place,” Beth Studebaker, a local business owner, said.

But that’s nothing new for Studebaker. With her business right on the corner of the intersection, she says she hears a lot of crashes.

“There are a lot of accidents here. I’m not sure why. The intersection is well-lit, it’s well marked. I just don’t believe people are paying attention,” Studebaker said.

According to Chris Francis, the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer, there have been at least 8 crashes so far this year and 14 in 2018 at this one intersection.

“Since 2012, we’ve had 76 crashes at this intersection,” Francis said.

Kyle Dukes, the Kosciusko County Sheriff said it is just known as a busy intersection

“It’s starting to get developed with businesses. We have a gas station that was just put in. But again with all the lakes here in Kosciusko County and being a state road with a county road that intersects it, it’s a busy place,” Dukes said.

Especially during the summer.

“In the summertime especially, in Kosciusko county the population triples,” Dukes said.

Studebaker agrees.

“People may not be used to the area,” Studebaker said. “A lot of out-of-town visitors. People who are at the lake just during the summer.”

But it’s not only the traffic that could be the cause to so many crashes.

“There are quite a few that are a little speedier than what they should be,” Studebaker said.

 The speed limit is 50 on State Road 13 and over on 500 N it’s 40, but one resident said many still go way past that, especially since it’s a long straight road.

“I think it’s known, it’s how it is,” Studebaker said.

But Francis said he is not so sure.

“When I’m running radar, I don’t see a tremendous amount of speeders in this particular area,” Francis said.

The Sheriff’s Department knows about the area and does emphasize patrolling it.

“At the end of the day, people need to slow down and watch what they’re doing,” Dukes said.

ABC 57 reached out to the Indiana Department of Transportation to see if there is any traffic study or safety plan. Nichole Thomas, the Media Relations Director said they will be starting a traffic study on this intersection.

Thomas said that means they will look at the crash history. That process will take 6 to 8 weeks.

If the intersection is shown to be dangerous, they will start to look into other things such as the next steps towards safety. Thomas said there have been no other complaints surrounding the intersection.

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Mike 26 days ago
I drive through there every day. At minimum, that intersection needs right hand turn lanes in the east/west direction, and signaled left hand turn lanes in the north south direction. Also, the"pop-up" summer businesses need permanent, properly designed entries to avoid congestion back through the intersection. A big sign reminding people to use turn signals probably wouldn't hurt either. Start behaving people, or you'll get a roundabout.
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