Fatal car wreck drives call for road improvements in Pine Bluff | News
Pine Bluff (KTHV) - A fatal car accident in Pine Bluff this weekend takes place on one of the city's major corridors and one college students drive every day. We're talking about University Drive heading toward UAPB.
The latest call for action is from community activist Rev. Jesse Turner and his group, Interested Citizens for Voter Registration. He sent off a letter Monday to the Arkansas State Highway Department, which controls University Drive. The letter appeals for safety improvements so future accident victims don't end up in a ravine, right off the road.
It's this picture that has Rev. Jesse Turner of Pine Bluff, fed up with a dangerous stretch of University Drive.
"At this point, we're very concerned because of the loss of life," Rev. Turner said.
An early Saturday morning car accident killed 30-year-old Keatrick Fudge of Humphrey. State Police Reports say Fudge was driving northbound while taking a curve, lost control, crashing into this ravine.
"We believe there needs to be some barriers along the highway here to prevent out of control drivers from ending up in this 30 to 40 foot ravine," Rev. Turner said.
Rev. Turner's written a letter to the state highway officials, asking for a temporary fix as soon as possible. The state is already working on long-term plans to widen and straighten this curvy stretch of University Drive and add sidewalks.
"This is the main thoroughfare to the university and it should be safe and it should be updated," Rev. Turner said.
UAPB Freshman Alexandria Hall agrees.
"I would like it a lot better, they do need it," Hall says.
Hall says negotiating the S-curves is especially dicey.
"I feel like we're really close to each other and I can literally reach out the window and touch their car," Hall says.
It's an uneasy feeling behind the wheel with some previous close calls.
"I've had like two or three," Hall said.
It's driving home the need for improvements here and better shots from the road.
Rev. Turner says just before our interview, he talked with a neighbor who reported previous accidents on the other side of the road from the ravine. We also talked with a store owner near UAPB who says accidents happen a lot.
Highway Department Spokesman Glenn Bolick says someone will be out Tuesday to assess the area and see if they can do something in the short-term.
As for the long-term, Bolick says they can hopefully start work in less than a year.
There's been delay with utility relocation because city leaders apparently asked Entergy to hold off so they could get funds to bury the power lines; that's often a more expensive measure. An Entergy spokesman says that's money's been secured and Entergy's now moving forward on engineering plans for the relocation work.