Safety concerns on the Chickasaw Turnpike - - No One Gets You Closer

Safety concerns on the Chickasaw Turnpike

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PONTOTOC COUNTY, Okla. -- For the second time in just 90 days, a life has been lost at a dangerous intersection near Fitzhugh.

State troopers said 83-year-old Harold Martin of Konawa failed to yield at the stop sign where the Chickasaw Turnpike intersects with Highway 1 on Monday night. His car collided with an 18-wheeler.

HTC Express general manager Steve Dean one of their truck drivers was involved in that last fatal crash back in May when another driver failed to stop at the same junction, where the speed limit on Highway 1 is 65 mph.

"Our driver was under the speed limit; he is in his lane; he is buckled up; he brakes," but Dean said the driver still could not avoid the collision.

There are many different ideas on how to improve the intersection at the northern end of the Chickasaw Turnpike.

"There needs to be a sign that says you're coming up on a dangerous intersection," said truck driver David Wyche. "There needs to be a caution light there just to let people know, like I said, especially in bad weather, and that would help a lot."

"I would say that they need to put in a turn lane for those southbound vehicles that are going to turn onto the turnpike, so the visibility is good for those exiting the turnpike," Dean said.

Chickasaw Turnpike intersection
Motorists reaching the northern end of the Chickasaw Turnpike are confronted with 65 mph cross traffic at the intersection with Route 1. (KTEN)

One thing everyone seems to agree on: Something needs to be done.

With two deaths in the last 90 days, area residents say close calls are happening regularly.

"There's constantly near-misses," Wyche said. "We hear it on the scanner, and like I said, there is a lot of accidents there because people, they don't pay attention."

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