BROWNSBURG — A day after a fatal crash at an intersection in Brownsburg, firefighters who have responded to crashes and drivers who have been involved in collisions say more needs to be done to make it safer.
Mark Auberry has responded to several fatal crashes at the intersection of State Road 267 and County Road 1000 North, the spot where 16-year-old Josie Cranfill died in a multi-vehicle crash Wednesday. He has helped get stop signs installed that feature lights and reflectors.
Meanwhile, Cranfill's fatal crash brought back terrible memories for Dinah Matamoros, whose life changed forever in a crash on Oct. 3, 1996.
"(Thursday) is the 23rd anniversary of an automobile accident that I was involved in that killed my best friend and my youngest son at the time. Left my oldest son paralyzed and with a traumatic brain injury," Matamoros said. "It's heartbreaking. Having lost my child, I can sympathize with the family."
A photo still hangs on the wall inside Fire Station 132 showing first responders, including Auberry, helping the victims in Matamoros' crash. It's crashes like those that have stuck with him over the years.
"Almost every accident that has happened there, as far as fatals, I have been on," Auberry said.
Auberry has done what he can to make the intersection safer, but as traffic increases in the area, there is a common belief more needs to be done. The Brownsburg Fire Department reports 11 crashes at the intersection this year.
"I wanted to make changes to make things safer," Auberry said. "Plus, it was lifting off my chest and giving me some breaths to say I put my foot forward to tried to make changes and tried to make things safer."
Other drivers shared their memories of crashes at the intersection. Abby Hoone was on her way to pick up her children in December 2018 when she had a collision.
"I had a little time to kind of try to slam on my brakes, and I swerved to avoid T-boning him," Hoone said. "Hit the front of my car, sent me spinning off toward the guardrail."
Another Brownsburg firefighter, Jim Miller, said he avoids driving through the intersection.
"The intersection has always been a dangerous one since the time I came to work here at the Brownsburg Fire Territory 15 years ago," Miller said. "Firefighters and paramedics when they hear a run come out at this location they are automatically a little anxious. For whatever reason I think it is because of the terrain, they are failing to judge that closing distance for the north and southbound traffic."
Debbie Calder, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said there are now plans to install a traffic signal at the intersection. She said the work could take up to 18 months.
"Engineering is just one factor in promoting safe highways," Calder said. "Other factors include enforcement, education and emergency response. INDOT would like to remind all drivers to continue to pay attention and obey all traffic control devices in place at intersections."
As Matamoros confronts the anniversary of her crash, she said she wants more to be done.
"You can't put a price on a life. I think it needs to be re-looked at in changes have got to be made," Matamoros said.