WSAZ Investigates | Tragic Turn: On course for change

WSAZ Investigates | Tragic Turn: On Course for Change
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:27 PM EDT
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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A WSAZ investigation in May revealed an intersection in Logan County is where at least 10 people have died in car crashes according to investigators.

That intersection is at Old Logan Road and U.S. 119. The intersection marks a time and place for each of the families who remember lives lost. For one family, it was a father and grandfather. For another girl, it was a grandmother she called her hero.

That grandmother was known as Kaylee Bannister’s beloved Nana, Linda Lee.

“My nana was an amazing woman,” Bannister said. “She didn’t deserve to have her life taken away like that.”

Back in May, Bannister hoped the tragedy of loosing her Nana could be turned into change.

WSAZ took Kaylee and other families concerns about the intersection to the Division of Highways and asked the agency what could be done to make the area safer.

At the time, a spokesperson told WSAZ they were ‘”Actively reviewing the intersection for potential improvements.”

During the last few weeks, WSAZ followed up with the DOH about the review and to see if any changes had been made.

The agency said the review found “traffic volumes for the intersection have increased and the warranting criteria for a traffic signal had been met.”

WSAZ confirmed that a traffic light will be advertised for construction early next year.

So reporter, Kim Rafferty, met up with Kaylee to share the news.

“There’s a lot more complications to it that just, you know ... we need to put lights there. I’ve always hoped there would be a change there because it would save so many other people’s lives,” Bannister said.

“Well, they are putting a light in that intersection,” Rafferty said.

“Are you serious? Really? I’m trying not to cry,” Bannister said.

“How does that make you feel?” Rafferty asked.

“That makes me feel great. That’s amazing,” Bannister said.

WSAZ also reached back out to County Commissioner Danny Godby.

In WSAZ’s initial investigation, Godby expressed his concern about the loss of life at the intersection. When he heard about the update, Godby said he was relieved to know the DOH made a decision.

“I think what you people have done with WSAZ have brought this a lot of attention and I know the DOH wants to do the right thing,” Godby said. “It’s like creating a monument like, ‘Hey we’re are doing this to alleviate this problem; hopefully it never happens again.’ ”

Bannister said she was grateful her Nana, Linda Lee’s memory was living on and lighting the way for safety.

“My Nana’s life is the reason there was a change. Her life will save others in the future,” Bannister said. “The day those lights go up I’ll be there.”

Though everyone agreed a change needed to be made at the intersection, there are some concerns.

State Sen. Rupie Phillips, R-Logan, and Commissioner Godby said they were worried the traffic light could make it difficult for larger vehicles like tractor-trailers to stop as they come around the curve.

WSAZ followed up with the DOH about those concerns.

A spokesperson said they will be designing and installing signs to alert drivers to the new traffic pattern.

The DOH said the traffic light is in the engineering phase and its installation is slated for early next year.