Residents upset over deadly intersection

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. - Residents in Fleming Island are concerned that an intersection at U.S. 17 and Village Square Parkway has become far too dangerous after three people died in accidents within one month while driving through it.

"It's just a very dangerous place. You look at it and you think everything's calm and sedate, but you can get killed in a heartbeat," Bob Gestrick, a Fleming Island resident, said.

A man and a woman were killed Tuesday after a truck ran a red light and T-boned the car they were riding in. In April, a motorcyclist was killed after slamming into an SUV near the same intersection.

Eric Leister is the owner of Achieve Fitness, which is located right by the deadly intersection and he admits that while people are working out, he's working through nerves, worried about his family and his customers.

"Every time they leave, I kind of hold my breath, making sure they're going to get home OK," Laister admitted.

Leister thinks some of the deadly crashes can be prevented.

"I understand it's not necessarily popular, but I'm a fan of red light cameras," Leister said.

Amanda Janda, who works at the gym, said that with miles of straight roadway and frequent traffic lights, many drivers get frustrated and either run a red light or speed to get through the next intersection. She thinks more police patrols are needed.

"We see them driving, and that's great, people slow down. Actually clocking people for speeding tickets, we don't see that very often," Janda said.

While leaving the gym there is a small memorial on the roadside, a constant reminder for drivers to stay alert along U.S. 17 even when they have the right of way.

"Especially when it's a green light, because you never know who's trying to beat that last second, and they nail their accelerator," Gestrick said.

"Right now there are no plans to set up red light cameras at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Village Square, but many people have said that they wouldn't mind putting up tax dollars to get them if it means they'll be safer.
 

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