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Neighbors concerned after string of crashes at intersection

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ELKHART, Ind.—

A string of crashes over just two weekends at the same Elkhart intersection is leaving neighbors in the area scared for their safety.

The problem spot is the intersection of Johnson and Modrell just north of downtown.

Broken glass and even pieces of wrecked cars are in multiple yards around the intersection.

“It’s just ridiculous that it continues to happen,” said Michael Baker, who has lived near the intersection for more than 40 years. “My wife basically deals with PTSD after the stress that’s she’s gone through with our yard.”

He says there have been multiple crashes that have damaged his home and yard. Just two years ago a car took out the water hydrant in his front yard.

“It put 1.6 million gallons of water in my driveway, flooded the entire neighborhood,” he said. “I was dealt with the mess. I handled the mess, no one else helped with it.”

Sunday night brought the third crash in just eight days.

“They hit the front tree right here. We were actually scared they hit one of our cars but thankfully they didn’t,” said Betsy Chanon, who lives near the intersection.

Some feel the problem starts at the intersection of Bristol and Johnson where four lanes come down to two, causing people to speed up to merge.

“They speed up and come flying down. They get down to this intersection. The stop signs are really hard to see. People blow the stop signs,” said Baker.

A battery operated light did go up a few years ago but neighbors say they don’t feel that it helps.

“You can’t even see it at nighttime. We’ve asked for solar lit stop light so it can be seen and I think it has to be on both sides not just one side,” said Baker. “We just talked to our representative this morning and he’s working on a solution.”

But that’s not the first time something has been said to the city. Neighbors say they’ve attended common council meetings as groups and individuals. Some have also reached out to the mayor.

“People in the city are speaking out for a reason. Listen to us,” said Baker.

The mayor’s office says it has requested city departments to respond to the pattern, releasing the following statement:

“The Engineering Department, in conjunction with the Street Department’s Traffic Division, will conduct traffic counts on Woodlawn, Sunset, and Modrell, all three of which connect Cassopolis and Johnson streets.

This traffic count will tell us the number of cars traveling those streets as well as their approximate speed. That information is necessary before we can make an educated recommendation on traffic calming measures.

The Police Department will also be increasing patrols in this area, specifically targeting impaired drivers and/or those who disregard stop signs.”

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