Friday, July 30, 2004

Fields Ertel stretch targeted

Fatal wreck area is focus of police speeding effort

By Sheila McLaughlin
Enquirer Staff Writer

SYCAMORE TWP. - Hamilton County deputies are cracking down on speeders in a narrow stretch of Fields Ertel Road where four people died in a crash last week.

Deputies stepped up enforcement Thursday, a day after installing a portable speed trailer yards from the crash site, just west of Butler-Warren Road.

"Today, they are writing a bunch of tickets up there. Just a few minutes ago, we had one doing 55 in a 35 (mph zone)," said Steve Barnett, Hamilton County sheriff's spokesman.

The crash on July 23 drew police attention to the area between Snider and McCauley roads. Barnett said it has been the scene of 63 crashes since January 2001. So far this year, there have been 14, compared to 15 for all of 2003.

"It will be up this year if we continue at this pace. It does get to be a very congested area. It's a straight stretch where we've seen speeding," Barnett said.

Passengers Nickole and Stacey Williamson, sisters from Sycamore Township; Nicholas D. Lucke, of Cincinnati; and Timothy Chaney, of Chillicothe, were killed in the latest crash.

Driver Jerald J. Hundley, of Chillicothe, remains jailed in the Hamilton County Justice Center on 11 charges. Police said he fled police at more than 100 mph and struck a utility pole.

A study on safety improvements that includes that area of Fields Ertel Road is under way, but changes could take years to accomplish, said Ted Hubbard, Hamilton County chief deputy engineer.

The road will be resurfaced and restriped by the end of the year, he said, and longer-term plans are being considered to widen the road from Interstate 71 to U.S. 42 to include turn lanes. That effort will have to be coordinated among four communities, and there is no immediate funding available, Hubbard said.


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