Community want change to dangerous intersection after couple dies

Published: May 24, 2022 4:51 PM EDT
Updated: May 25, 2022 6:23 PM EDT

A dangerous intersection has a Lee County community pushing for change. The intersection is off of Palm Beach Blvd. and River Hall Pkwy.

Last week a couple died in the intersection when a dump truck ran a red light and hit their car.

A petition is circulating asking the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for more enforcement at the intersection. But the 1,000 people who signed it want more too.

They would like a roadside memorial with the names of a husband and wife lost in a crash at the intersection outside their River Hall neighborhood. The couple that died, Robert and Nancy Spiker’s, long-time friend Pamela Hetrick spoke to WINK News.

“We know them from church. We ate dinner together three or four times a week,” Hetrick says. “Ate lunch together a couple days a week and we knew all of their kids.”

Hetrick can’t shake the memory of how a dump truck ran a red light and slammed into Robert and Nancy’s car a week ago.

“There was bodies on the ground and first thing I asked her was what kind of car, just something clicked and she said a tan Lincoln which is what they drove,” Hetrick says. “And within two minutes their daughter-in-law from River Hall here called an absolute hysterics and all I said was oh my God it was them.”

Though the grief is heavy friends and neighbors are determined to not let their deaths be in vain. They want changes to this intersection in Olga. Better timed traffic lights, more traffic enforcement, and a lower speed limit.

Hetrick says “Bob and Nancy are looking down saying we know what you are doing and thank you.”

Neighbors say the biggest way to honor the Spiker’s is to ensure change happens at the intersection where they did.

Neighbors in River Hall said Nancy and Bob lived right in front of hole five at their community’s golf course. There’s a bridge right by the hole. Members of the community are raising money to get a plaque and name that bridge after the Spikers.

Community members want a plaque and to name the bridge after the Spikers. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The Florida Department of Transportation responded to communities’ concerns saying they do have a plan for the intersection. They said in a statement:

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District 1, Traffic Operations is pursuing a multidisciplinary approach to address the safety issues that have emerged at the SR 80 and River Hall Parkway signal in Lee County.

  • To better coordinate traffic flow arriving at the signal, and reduce the potential conflicts in the intersection, Traffic Signals Maintenance & Operation (TSM&O) staff are providing timing changes to the signal.
  • To further improve awareness of the approaching signal, Signing and Pavement Marking are working with Lee County staff to install Dynamic Signal Warning Flashers (with a flashing illuminated beacon to indicate a red signal ahead) and will be refurbishing the lane markings in the intersection.
  • The FDOT liaison to the Lee County Community Transportation Safety Team (CTST) is coordinating with local law enforcement to provide an increased presence and increased traffic enforcement on SR 80.

These improvements will not occur simultaneously; however, we are working diligently to provide these safety improvements as quickly as possible in order do what we can to prevent crashes like the one last week.  The safety of the traveling public is a priority for the Florida Department of Transportation.