ELLERBE — Fifteen crashes in five years recently led the N.C. Department of Transportation to make an intersection a four-way stop.
Last month, NCDOT put up stop signs at all four corners of the intersection of U.S. 220 with N.C. 73 and Pressley Rankin Highway near the rest area.
According to a press release announcing the change: “All-way stop intersections are shown to reduce fatalities and injuries by 77 percent.”
An Intersection Analysis Report from NCDOT shows there were 15 wrecks at that spot from May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2021.
While none of those were fatal, NCDOT spokesman Aaron Moody said there was one deadly wreck on July 21 that fell outside the study’s timeframe.
Of those 15 vehicle crashes, 10 resulted in a total of 22 injuries.
One was a Class A injury, which is defined by NCDOT as disabling: “Injury obviously serious enough to prevent the person injured from performing his normal activities for at least one day beyond the day of the collision. Massive loss of blood, broken bone, unconsciousness of more than momentary duration are examples.”
Six were labeled as Class B injuries: “Obvious injury, other than killed or disabling, which is evident at the scene. Bruises, swelling, limping, soreness, are examples. Class B injury would not necessarily prevent the person from carrying on his normal activities.”
The remaining 15 are considered Class C injuries: “No visible injury, but person complains of pain, or has been momentarily unconscious.”
Vehicles involved included eight passenger cars, seven pickup trucks, eight SUVs and four vans. One vehicle is listed as unknown.
A majority of the crashes (12) happened during the day and only one of those was under wet road conditions. The other three were at night, all under dry conditions.
Four of the wrecks happened during the month of October. There were also three in September; two in each August and November; and one in each March, April, May and July. No wrecks were reported during the months of January, February, June or December.
According to NCDOT, more fatal crashes in the state occur during the first two weeks of October. Last year, “more than 130 people were killed and nearly 500 more seriously injured in traffic crashes across the state,” according to a recent press release.
Tables show the number and types of wrecks and number of injuries each year of the study, indicating more than one-third happened in 2019:
- 2016 – Two crashes; one with injury, one with only property damage; five injured
- 2017 – One crash; with injury; one injury
- 2019 – Six crashes; five with injury, one with only property damage; 10 injuries
- 2020 – Four crashes; one with injury, three with only property damage; one injury
- 2021 – Two crashes; both with injury; five injuries
There were no reported crashes at the intersection in 2018.
According to a diagram, eight of the wrecks involved one vehicle traveling north on U.S. 220 — which, at the time, would have had the right of way — and the other vehicle traveling west, across the intersection, from Pressley Rankin Highway to N.C. 73.
The route of N.C. 73 turns left at the intersection and runs with U.S. 220 before turning east just south of Norman.
As for the other crashes:
- Two involved one vehicle traveling north on U.S. 220 and the other traveling east from N.C. 73 to Pressley Rankin Highway;
- Two involved one vehicle traveling south on U.S. 220 and the other traveling west from Pressley Rankin Highway to N.C. 73;
- One involved a vehicle traveling south on U.S. 220 and the other traveling east from N.C. 73 to Pressley Rankin Highway;
- One involved a single vehicle running off the road and hitting a fixed object on U.S. 220 just north of the intersection; and
- One involved a single vehicle hitting an animal just west of the intersection.
The Object Struck Summary section of the report lists an animal being hit once, a road sign being hit once, and a tree being hit twice.
Only two of the crashes involved drugs or alcohol.
Combined, the 15 wrecks resulted in $123,450 in property damage, according to the report.