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Fatal accident raises safety concerns

Following a fatal accident May 6 at the intersection of Garrett Road and Meridian Road, the Falcon community has voiced concern about the safety of the intersection.The Colorado State Patrol investigated the accident; and, according to its website, a tow truck was traveling south on Meridian Road and a Ford truck was traveling east on Garrett road. The tow truck driver failed to stop at the intersection ñ the stop signs are set up for traffic traveling north and south on Meridian. The Ford truck reached the intersection at the same time, and the tow truck crashed into the Fordís left side. The couple in the Ford died at the scene; the tow truck driver suffered minor injuries.Andre Brackin, county engineer for El Paso County, said many people are concerned that the intersection is to blame for the fatal crash and most other accidents in that area. Brackin said itís human error. ìThe essential problem is that people just like to run that stop sign,î he said. ìThe predominance of accidents is people running the stop sign going southbound on Meridian.îCSP Capt. Chuck Cargin said that in the five years heís been with the CSP, this accident was the first fatal one heís seen. ìThere are really not that many accidents at that area,î he said. ìFrom July 31, 2011, to May 2013, there have been six crashes total at that intersection ñ and only one fatal one.îCargin said most of the accidents involve locals because the people know the road and think they can make it through the stop sign without stopping. ìThe road hasnít changed,î he said. ìMost crashes there are driver error.îThe county is looking at ways to prevent crashes at the intersection. ìWe have done a traffic engineering analysis of the intersection just recently,î Brackin said. ìBased on traffic and turning movement counts, we can determine the type of traffic control that is warranted to best safely deal with the traffic there. Thereís just not enough turning movements for a traffic signal. It doesnít warrant a four-way stop, either. Typically, four-way stops are on intersecting roadways with lower speeds and more traffic. A four-way stop would probably be more problematic and less safe in this situation.ìWeíre looking at potentially updating with more signage leading up to the intersection. But one thing that will change is that there will be signage updates (of the current stop and street signs). Our first shot is to upgrade the signage with better reflection and larger grade stop signs. There will be street sign installation and a possible intersection line.îThe signage updates could happen as soon as the next few weeks, he said.ìAs you approach, you have an excellent sight distance,î Brackin said. ìGoing southbound, you canít see over the hill until you get closer to the intersection, but if youíre going the posted speed limit and you stop, you can see.î

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