Residents consider stop signs following crash

Car accident

Two people were transported to Englewood Community Hospital with minor injuries after a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning at the intersection of Sunnybrook and Oceanspray boulevards in Englewood. The driver of a 2009 Kia Optima was traveling east on Oceanspray and failed to stop at a stop sign, colliding with a Dodge Ram truck traveling north on Sunnybrook. The Kia crossed the intersection and hit a Florida Power & Light pole, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. The Dodge rolled once and landed on its roof.

ENGLEWOOD — Residents living in the area of Sunnybrook and Oceanspray boulevards are concerned about conditions that may have led to a traffic accident at the intersection of the two roads at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Two people were transported to Englewood Community Hospital with minor injuries after the driver of a Kia Optima failed to stop at a stop sign while driving on Oceanspray and hit a Dodge Ram truck. The Kia hit a telephone pole and the truck rolled and landed on its roof.

‘It’s really bad in the time of day when the sun is directly west — people can’t see,’ said Carol Leonard of Englewood. ‘They see the sun in their eyes and they can’t see that stop sign, which doesn’t make a difference for Oceanspray, but if it were a four-way stop, it would make a difference.’

Travelers face a lack of stop signs when going down Sunnybrook from State Road 776 to near Rotonda, some residents say.

‘There are a lot of near-misses that don’t get reported,’ Leonard said. ‘There is lots of speeding by there. When I have to pull out of my driveway, you have to really wait until there is no traffic coming since they speed down here.’

Others say they are content with the way Sunnybrook is set up.

‘It was very sad to have something like that happen on the street,’ said Carolyn Mathews, a resident on Sunnybrook. ‘This is a nice street. It’s fine the way it is (with the side stop signs for roads that intersect Sunnybrook). (Speeds of) 35-40 should be the most they should be going.’

Mathews adds there are some speeders when the police are not around, but accidents rarely happen.

‘It’s not a big crash problem,’ said Don Purcell, Charlotte County traffic engineering superintendent. ‘(At the intersection of Sunnybrook and Oceanspray) we had two accidents in 2009, none in 2010, one in 2011, and to date in 2012, the one that happened the other day.’

Leonard claims there were many close calls that do not get reported, and speeding is rampant.

She said she often calls the county to complain about the need for more stop signs, especially a four-way stop at Sunnybrook and Oceanspray.

‘I just called this morning, but before then it was years ago,’ Leonard said. ‘They haven’t bothered. We didn’t get anywhere, but there is a lot more traffic now.’

Karen Dance, who has lived on Sunnybrook for two years, empathizes with Leonard.

‘It’s 35 mph and people are always speeding,’ Dance said. ‘It’s a busy intersection. I think stop signs would help. It’s hard to back in and out of the driveway.’

Leonard believes the problem only will get worse on Sunnybrook as Rotonda and Cape Haze develop and traffic increases.

‘I don’t know how much a stop sign costs, but it can’t cost very much, and it would slow people down a little bit,’ she said.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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