Crash prompts requests for intersection safety improvements

Google maps The intersection of 21st Street and Sugar Beet Road has been the scene of 10 crashes in three years.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A fatal crash Saturday has prompted area law officers to ask for help in improving safety at some county intersections.

Don Teague, 74, of Bovina was killed when his pickup was struck by an Oldsmobile driven by Hanna Godwin, 19, of Clovis at the intersection of 21st Street and Sugar Beet Road on Saturday.

Police data shows the intersection has been the scene of 10 crashes in three years with Saturday’s crash being the only fatal. An intersection one mile west of the fatal on 21st Street poses similar concerns, State Police Commander Jimmy Glascock said — not so much the number of accidents, but the potential for severity when north- and south-bound drivers fail to stop at the intersection.

Clovis Municipal Airport, residential development, Clovis Christian School’s new campus and travelers to Texico and west Texas have made the area busier in recent years, he said.

With only a stop sign standing between 55 mph east- and west-bound traffic, drivers need to pay extra attention, he said.

“It may be more dangerous than some (intersections),” he said, explaining he doesn’t want, “to misportray it … but there is some concern.”

Glascock said he will ask the state to lower the speed limit from 55 mph on State Road 523 to a point east of Sugar Beet Road.

Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said he and Glascock also plan to ask county commissioners at a March 2 meeting to add rumble strips or warning signs to tell drivers to prepare for a stop ahead.

The intersections of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Wheaton Road on west Llano Estacado Boulevard also pose concerns.

Residents along Sugar Beet are happy to hear someone is looking into the issues they say they live with every day.

“There seems to be a lot of wrecks right there,” said Ginger Johnson, who lives on Sugar Beet Road south of the intersection. “I think it’d be nice if they had a flashing light or something to show there’s a stop sign there,” she said.

Lynn Aucutt said in the year she has lived along Sugar Beet Road she has learned to enter the intersections with care.

“I’ve seen some close misses. I just don’t take any chances there at all,” Aucutt said. “When I moved in here, my husband warned me about people, that they’re going fast and they don’t stop. It’s dangerous and I’m very careful when I go by there.”

Isaac Godwin, 22, a passenger in the Oldsmobile involved in Saturday’s wreck, was listed in critical condition Monday at University Medical Center in Lubbock.

Hanna Godwin was treated and released from Plains Regional Medical Center and a 7-year-old passenger in Teague’s truck is stable and improving, according to Glascock.

No citations have been issued in connection with Saturday’s fatal accident, Glascock said.