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Concerns over dangerous intersection in Hillsboro

“My father’s life shouldn’t have to be defined by a red /caution light.”
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 11:14 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Renewed action from Hillsboro community members after another death at the intersection of Highway 20 and County Road 400.

57-year-old Roger Cartee was killed after being hit by a semi at the intersection yesterday morning. State Troopers say Cartee was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cartee’s son sent WAFF a statement that reads, “My father’s life shouldn’t have to be defined by a red /caution light. I understand that he might be the 5th person to pass at this intersection, but under no circumstance should a life loss be the first sign of something needing to be done about road or public safety. The fact that it is should be a strong statement about those who are in charge of these things during this time. Our family is trying to cherish our memories with him in no way should we be having to deal with the failures or shortcomings of our communities roadway safety proof shouldn’t be provided by a loss of life.”

Roger Cartee Family Picture
Roger Cartee Family Picture(GRAY)

2 deaths in 8 months at the intersection of Highway 20 and County Road 400 in Hillsboro.

“Something needs to be done,” said Hillsboro resident Eddie Moses.

The most recent death was just February 16. 57-year-old Roger Dale Cartee was attempting to cross the intersection in his truck when he was hit by an 18-wheeler.

Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Chief Jason Jones says, unfortunately, this isn’t the first.

“I’ve been with the fire department since I was 16. Over the years I’ve had multiple wrecks I have been a part of. A lot of have been from minor wrecks to many calls that involved serious injuries and most recently the fatalities,” said Jones.

On July 2nd, 61-year-old Joy Elaine Williford died at the same intersection. Chief Jones says the wrecks have similarities.

“The problems with the wrecks are north to south. Where it is crossing highway 20,” said Jones.

Hillsboro Police Chief, Michael Taylor says safety improvements like flashing lights have been installed, but more needs to be done.

“We are working diligently with agencies- the state and the county. We are working with the county commissions to get some activity signs on the north and south side to let people know you are coming to a major intersection,” said Taylor.

Chief Jones reached out to ALDOT about the potential for a traffic light. ALDOT spokesperson Seth Burkett replied, “We’re following up on the crash investigation to see whether this crash fits into a pattern of crashes that might be remedied by some sort of safety modification. Hillsboro could formally request a signal study, but it doesn’t look as though this intersection would meet federal guidelines for a traffic signal, based on traffic volumes. A signal would perhaps pose some problems of its own, given that the intersection is miles from other signalized intersections, which creates a risk of red-light running on the main highway as a result of a signal being unexpected. We generally start by trying to address safety concerns with less restrictive measures — such as the flashers installed at this intersection a couple of years back — and work our way up. There is a gamut of measures we can explore.”

The people of Hillsboro, like Eddie Moses, say they want to see an end to people dying at this intersection.

“It’s bad. When you pull in the intersection to come across there will be three or four other that pile on top of you and you can’t see past their vehicles.”

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