05 Jun Double Fatal Collision In EZT Comes Weeks Before Intersection Improvements
Police Officer One of the Victims
A two-vehicle collision at the dangerous intersection of Highway 59 and Oxford County Road 33 has claimed the lives of two drivers. The collision happened shortly before 7 a.m. on Monday, May 29. Provincial Police say an unmarked Ontario Provincial Police vehicle and a school bus collided in the intersection. Both drivers died as a result of their injuries. There were no students on the bus and no passengers in either vehicle.
Detective Constable Steven Tourangeau was with the Huron-Perth Community Street Crime Unit, part of the Perth County OPP Detachment. He was just 35 years old. The OPP will not be releasing the identity of the other driver, out of respect for the family’s privacy. “We are deeply saddened over this tragic incident, as two families mourn the loss of their loved ones. I offer my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues affected,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.
The intersection has been the scene of a number of collisions in the last few years, some fatal, and one last Thursday where two pick-up trucks collided. Injuries to the drivers were minor. Area residents have called for safety improvements over the last few years, and to date, red flashing beacons have been installed on top of stop signs on the east and west sides. The next phase of construction begins late next month, and a county spokesperson said some of the preparatory work required is now underway.
The biggest of those improvements is a 4-way stop with flashing red lights both on the ground and above, which means a speed reduction to 60 km/h along with speed feedback signs at all four approaches. Overhead flashing red lights will also be activated once power connections to the new infrastructure are complete.
Frank Gross is the manager of transportation and waste management with the county and said in a recent interview with the Gazette that several safety measures are coming. “With the all-way stop, traffic will have to stop before proceeding, which will hopefully mitigate what is happening there now. We should be able to get all the construction done at once, and if the capital budget gets approved, we will proceed in the second quarter of the year, so April to June.” Rumble strips will also be installed as part of the intersection upgrades.
Many residents on area Facebook pages are pushing the county to speed up construction so there are no more fatalities. One concerned resident is Alexandra McKay, who lives on 59 near Hickson. “I am pleased that finally, these changes will be implemented. I wish it could have been taken more seriously before more fatalities occurred.” McKay travels the stretch of road daily and said her main concern is the amount of people running the east and west stop signs. “Many times, I have had to slam on the breaks after seeing people running the stop signs.” She added Hickson’s stop sign on 59 has been very successful, to her knowledge, at reducing accidents, and she would like to see an increased police presence in the area until the construction is completed. “It’s heartbreaking, I guess I would just say that time and time again, we are taking too long to adapt to population and traffic increases, and it’s costing local lives.”