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Action News Investigates: Traffic light at scene of fatal crash

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Updated: 10/03/2013 3:11 am
LAKE CITY, Fla. -- It's a signal that has many drivers in Lake City confused. "It's the light that cried wolf," said Joel Becker.

Becker isn't the only one in Lake City who believes something's not right. After Monday night's tragic crash that killed 17-year-old Czarrah Howard, he and several others came to Action News about what they believe is an inconsistent intersection.

On Tuesday night, Action News spoke to the parents of one of the teens involved in that wreck. They came out to monitor U.S. 41 and Malone Street, telling us the lights change too quickly.
 
Becker had a similar story. "The north and southbound light will turn yellow for a few seconds and then red, and for about a quarter second it goes straight back to green," said Becker.

Our cameras caught it doing just that. With no cars sitting on Malone Street, the lights for U.S. 41 turned red, but only for a little more than a second. Then the lights switched back again. 

But on that fateful night, a car was on Malone Street, according to Lake City police, and Czarrah was in it. 

We went to the Florida Department of Transportation about the issue, spokeswoman Gina Busscher told us that kind of scenario could mean there's a broken sensor. "The sensors are not buried that deep into the pavement anyway and sometimes the loop becomes broken and then it goes into a manual cycle," said Busscher.

It's a cycle that Becker believes may lead to accidents. The police report about Monday night's accident that killed Czarrah says "One of the two vehicles ran a red light, and investigators are working to determine which one."

"I've noticed a lot of other drivers approach the intersection a lot faster at night when the light turns yellow because they know its it's going to turn straight back to green," said Becker.

According to FDOT, there have been 13 crashes at that intersection between 2007 and 2011. Officials also tell us they're looking into the issues we've brought to their attention.

Count on Action News to continue monitoring this story.

Czarrah Howard will be laid to rest Saturday at Epiphany Catholic Church in Lake City.



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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

cak85 - 10/3/2013 9:27 PM
0 Votes
I live in Lake city and this light has done this for years. When the light changes so quickly, you will still be in the middle of the road when it turns green the opposite directions. Drivers do have the responsibility to err on the side of caution, but we have been conditioned that green means go and there are obstructions that make it difficult to see vehicles approaching from the direction the teens were coming from until you're right there.

concernedone20 - 10/3/2013 5:30 PM
0 Votes
Many can talk about the lights all they want, the question remains is, what would have been the responsibility of the drivers if the light quit altogether?

Realchange - 10/3/2013 1:44 PM
0 Votes
I would like to know about the accident in Jacksonville with a police officer. Was he texting at the time of the fatal motorcycle crash? Why was that shut up about ? Police use their computers all the time while cruising down the road I feel it is second class citizenry when laws apply only to certain types of people and other castes of people are exempt from the same laws.

Tncextreme - 10/3/2013 10:45 AM
0 Votes
This is NOT the only intersection in Lake City that has this issue. There are 2 lights on hwy 90 that do the same exact thing.

finganid - 10/3/2013 8:48 AM
0 Votes
Most of The Signals Have Two Operating "Modes". The First Will Cycle As The Sensors Are Triggered And The Second Is Manual When No Traffic Is Detected. One Of The Roads Is Also Given A Title Of "Primary". This Road Keeps A Constant Green When No Traffic Is Present However, It Will Cycle By Itself Every 15 To 30 Seconds. The Best Time To Observe The Manual Cycle Pattern Is Early Morning With No Traffic To Trip The Sensors. If There Is A Broken / Malfunctioning Light, It Will Be Ready Easy To recognize.

Momrocks2015 - 10/3/2013 6:54 AM
0 Votes
When I lived in Texas there was a light when it rained, it would turn green both ways. I called the city and they said it wasn't possible. People would get in car accidents, one of our friends got in an accident because of green lights both ways. I've seen it myself. So sad that their young lives were lost because of a light malfunction.

abjames28 - 10/3/2013 1:50 AM
0 Votes
Yea we have the one at Kennerly and University it is almost always red on Kennerly and when if does turn green it is only for a few seconds then back to waiting I think the average time is 8 minutes for no reason so people run it often to avoid being late for work.

Dremwolf - 10/3/2013 1:09 AM
0 Votes
All of these people knew there was an issue yet they kept their traps shut. They should all be charged as accomplices!

Terri75 - 10/3/2013 12:58 AM
0 Votes
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