PERRY TOWNSHIP – At their first post-election meeting on Nov. 12, Perry Township Trustees welcomed a visitor who was invited to come from Worthington (upper Columbus area) to throw some light on the longtime problem of recurring accidents, some of them fatal, at the intersection of Johnsville-Brookville and Old Dayton roads.
While the visitor, Dean Johnson, lives in another area, he is all too familiar with the same type of accidents at an intersection east of Columbus.
On Oct. 5, 2002, Johnson’s wife, Sandy, and her mother, Jackie, were killed in a violent collision at a similar type intersection east of Columbus. In an attempt to learn the cause of his wife’s death, Johnson created a nonprofit named “Making Our Roads Safer: the Sandy Johnson Foundation,” of which he is president.
“What I learned should be concerning to all highway travelers. It was revealed that the location of my wife’s death was ranked the eighth most dangerous intersection in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation,” said Johnson.
Of even greater concern was the fact that the location had been studied by ODOT a total of six times over the previous 13 years without a cause for the disproportionately high number of crashes being identified, Johnson said.
“I identified ‘driver conditioning’ as the underlying cause of Sandy’s crash. Understanding the cause of the crashes taking place quickly led to the recognition of a low-cost solution,” said Johnson.
Johnson said he met with ODOT officials on Dec. 3, 2002 and told them what was wrong and how to fix it. The following day, a representative of ODOT contacted him to confirm his recommendation had been accepted.
“Nine days later, the location was modified in accordance with his recommendation, and the crashes that had plagued that location for over 15 years came to an abrupt end,” Johnson said.
What does this have to do with Perry Township?
The week before the meeting, a resident from Montgomery County contacted Mr. Johnson and asked for help in ending the crashes that have been occurring at the intersection of Johnsville-Brookville Road at Old Dayton Road.
“Accepting that challenge, I first contacted the State Highway Patrol to obtain crash data. Attempts to contact the Montgomery County engineer failed. I also reviewed the site on Google Maps and actually drove to your site,” Johnson said.
He came to the Perry Township Trustees’ meeting to explain his findings and offer a recommendation. He explained that “inattentional blindness” was the primary cause of drivers’ failing to yield and recommended that LED lights be added to the “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” sign.
However, during that meeting, additional information was presented by a resident who lives on the corner of that intersection, and after further consideration, Johnson changed his recommendation.
An email was sent to the county engineer and to Perry Township Fiscal Officer Rhonda Behnken recommending a conversion of the site to a four-way stop.
“I believe that conversion will prevent all future crashes involving inattentional blindness and tunnel vision, as well as incidents when the sun interferes with a driver’s ability to see the traffic control devices,” Johnson said.
Apparently, a four-way-atop had been suggested previously and the idea had been turned down. Behnken said there already is a north-and-south yellow LED light as well as an east-and-west red flashing LED light at the dangerous intersection.
Johnson then emphasized several times that the very best thing for drivers to do at intersections is to “look both ways twice,” before proceeding to enter the intersection.
(Information about Making Our Roads Safer: The Sandy Johnson Foundation can be found at www.sandyjohnsonfoundation.org, and on Facebook.)
Police Chief Tim Littleton reported the department participated in annual Ghostly Night Out in October, with a great turnout. The department also participated in the annual Veterans Day luncheon at Rob’s Restaurant in Brookville, along with the Brookville and Clay Township police departments.
“We will also participate in Shop with a Cop for one family in need from the Brookville area and one family in need from the New Lebanon area. I’d like to do this every December,” said Littleton. He said they will take the kids to breakfast and then take them to Walmart to shop.
Littleton also announced that Police Officer Steve Nelson had resigned.
Zoning Administrator Kate Christian reported she had set a notice to the property owner at 4225 Clayton Road on Oct. 17 to request permission to discuss ongoing complaints and had attended a meeting with the owner to follow up.
Christian sent a letter on Oct. 25 to the property owner at 11803 Wolf Creek Pike regarding junk and debris. The property owner came to the office and asked for an extension until the end of the year.
She said she will attend a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on Dec. 5 for a lot split at 2639 Crawford Tom’s Run Road.
Christian reminded everyone that the township offices will be closed on Nov. 28 and 29.
The next regular Perry Township Trustees meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 3025 Johnsville-Brookville Road, Perry Township.
Reach this writer by calling 937-620-4044, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.