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Another wreck at dangerous spot in front of Walmart sparks debate Even before the Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in Marion in January of 2016, residents were raising concerns about traffic along Highway 77 and the potential for car crashes.

The store is located just south of a dangerous turn known by longtime residents as “Dead Man’s Curve.” It’s also at the east end of L.H. Polk Drive, which is less than half a mile from four of the city’s six schools, and the store is right across the street from Marion First Baptist Church, the city’s largest place of worship.

And sure enough, the stretch of road has become a hot-spot for collisions, as impatient motorists jump out into traffic, distracted drivers fail to notice sudden stoppers, and high traffic numbers add up to a recipe for disaster.

Last Thursday afternoon, such was again the case when a two-car crash sent one vehicle spinning and another tumbling right out in front of the Walmart, sending traffic to a screeching halt.

As first responders from the Marion Police Department and Marion Fire Department worked the scene, motorists skirted by slowly. A post on the Evening Times Facebook page showed the aftermath, along with a warning to use caution and/or choose an alternate route.

“I was right there,” said April Waddell. “It was scary!”

Patsy Gallegos said, “We passed by it. I hope everyone involved is OK.”

“They’re going to have to put a traffic light up here,” said Jane Hawley. “Too many wrecks. And telling or wishing people to slow down or be cautious…

that’s not gonna happen unfortunately. If not a traffic light then what? Speed bumps?”

“I hate to say it but we need a traffic light there,” said Michael Palvado.

“Walmart makes that a very busy intersection. And if we ever get the overpass, it will be even worse.”

Palvado was far from alone in his assertion.

Wanda Taylor: “There needs to be a red light there.”

Amanda Reneé: “They need a red light at that intersection.”

Mary Kathren Rogers: They really need a light right there. A wreck every other week. It’s crazy.”

Courtney Dyan Rogers: “Need a four-way light there.”

Tiffany Gustavus: “Need a light there!”

Janice Little: “Praying for all involved. This is a dangerous intersection. They really need a traffic light.”

Dorothy Cooper: “I agree. It does need a light there, please. Praying for all involved.”

Barbara Bell: “I agree. I think a light is needed because of all the traffic after school and work, people coming home.”

Of course, not everyone thought a traffic signal was the solution.

“Installing a red light wont fix anything,” opined Taylor Daniel. “Early morning traffic will become disastrous.”

Tina Barnett: “Everyone is calling for a traffic light when really folks just need to be more cautious and don’t pull out in front of people.”

Joanna Ramsey: “No need for a light. People need to learn to drive properly and pay attention.”

Randy Prater: “No light needed if people would drive the speed limit and drive responsibly.”

“Will never be safe if people don’t learn how to drive safely instead of waiting last minute to go somewhere then have to fly like idiots!” said V.J.

Pierce. “I’ve got a stop sign in front of my house and 9 out of 10 never stop. They just don’t care!”

Sheila Justus Davis noted, “Saying ‘We don’t need a light, just more careful drivers’ is like saying, ‘we don’t need traffic laws, just more careful drivers.’ Ain’t gonna happen. Too many rude ‘me first’ drivers and folks looking at their phones instead of the road.

Need traffic slowed down in that spot.

“It’s so dangerous right there,” said Mandy Barrom Kristy Bass said, “I refuse to turn left or cross there because people don’t know how to slow down! It’s 45 through there not 60, people. And Walmart shouldn’t been able to build without a stop light!”

“I see accidents there all the time,” said Sharon Roberts-Eaton Ynette Roberts said, “I do too, and always pray they are safe. Scares me.”

“People need to learn what a stop sign means,” said Kevin German. “And what coming to a full stop means. And that you don’t pull out into on coming traffic just because you want to… there is a process to guide you through that.”

“I wonder when Walmart will pay for a traffic light there?” said Drew Bedenbaugh “We give them enough money.”

Britney Norsworthy lamented, “The number of wrecks we have there is so sad.”

“And this is why they need a traffic light up there,” said Mark Simmons,

round of like-minded responses.

Teresa Wheeler: “There needs to be a traffic light there.”

Jon Ball: “There needs to be a light there. Just saying.”

Rita Fratesi: “There absolutely

light there!”

Beverly Johnson: “Need a light there! Real bad!”

Lora Tull: “Yes! A light is really needed there, lots of accidents and close calls right there.”

Jean Hampton Roberts: “People don’t know who has the right-of-way at intersections.”

“What is needed is responsible drivers,” said Dee Franklin. “Pay attention to the road and other drivers. Stay off of your phones. If you feel something or someone on your phone needs your immediate attention then pull over in a safe place and deal with it, OK? But not while you’re driving. Stop the stupidity!”

Henry Marconi said, Maybe we will get a traffic light there when the overpass is built?”

“I don’t know the circumstances of this particular accident, but I do know the driver of the van,” said Tony Wells. “He is a conscientious driver that obeys the law and does not text or talk on phone while driving. Everyone is arguing about whether or not we need a traffic light at this intersection, but forget that the majority of the accidents that happen here are inattentive or distracted drivers. Will a signal be installed after the long overdue overpass is built?

Probably, but a traffic light won’t solve the problem of inattentiveness and distractions by electronic devices. Back in the stone ages when I attended Driver’s Ed, we were taught, ‘look left, look right, look left again.’ We were also taught the five-second rule when following someone in traffic. We all need to slow down and drive defensively.”

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