08/28/11 — Fatal crash at intersection where traffic lights out

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Fatal crash at intersection where traffic lights out

By Gary Popp
Published in News on August 28, 2011 1:50 AM

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Firefighters, police and rescue personnel work the scene of a fatal accident late Saturday afternoon at the intersection of West Ash Street and I-795 that took the life of a 5-year-old girl. Authorities blamed the accident at least partially on the fact that the stoplights at the intersection were not working.

A 15-year-old girl was killed Saturday afternoon in Goldsboro in a traffic accident police blamed on intersection lights not working because of a power outage caused by Hurricane Irene.

The name of the girl was not immediately released because she was a minor, Goldsboro police Officer J.R. Holland said.

The accident happened at the intersection of West Ash Street and I-795 shortly after 4 p.m. She was riding in a Ford Explorer with seven family members traveling from Myrtle Beach to their home in Manassas, Va., when the vehicle was involved in a crash with a Chevrolet SUV.

Four people were ejected from the Ford, which was traveling north on I-795.

All of the occupants in both vehicles were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital for treatment, including several children.

The girl's mother, Glenda Cruz, 35, family member Edith Martinez, 24, and Ms. Martinez's daughter Lindsey Santa-Maria, 7, were ejected from the Ford and remain at Wayne Memorial, Holland said.

The other passengers in the Ford included the girl's stepfather Jorge Luis Lopez Rosa, 27, who was driving, grandmother Maria Martinez, 60, Jorge Lopez Jr., 3, and Breanna Lopez, 1.

The Chevrolet, which was traveling east on Ash, was being driven by April Michelle Ransom, 29, of Westover Drive. A 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl were riding with her.

Investigators said two vehicles entered the intersection at the same time.

Holland said Saturday evening it was too early to determine who was at fault, but according to witnesses' statements neither vehicle slowed before entering the intersection.

The Ford rolled over three or four times, Holland said, and rolled down a 10- to 12-foot sunken embankment before it came to a stop.

He said the tragedy underscores the need for drivers to approach intersections carefully when the signal lights are not working.

"I hope this will let people know they need to take an extra moment when the traffic lights are down to make sure they slow down and are able to see that the intersection is clearly."