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Spanish Fork City Council takes temporary action at intersection where 2 girls were hit

By Carlene Coombs - | May 23, 2024

Courtesy Spanish Fork Police, Fire & EMS

The scene of an auto-pedestrian collision in Spanish Fork on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

During the Spanish Fork City Council meeting Tuesday, members vowed to take temporary safety measures at an intersection where two young girls were hit by a car over the weekend while construction is underway for a traffic light.

Last Saturday, two girls named Reagan, 13, and Olivia, 12, were struck while trying to cross the intersection of 2300 East and Canyon Road, where a new traffic light will be installed. The intersection currently lacks both a light and crosswalks.

While residents wait for a new traffic light, which is planned to be completed by August, the city will be placing a speed trailer in the area as well as signs instructing pedestrians to cross at the crosswalk down the road, and will be closing the north end of the intersection during construction. The city also will evaluate other safety measures, according to a press release from the city.

In 2022, the intersection became a four-way crossing when construction was completed on the north portion of 2300 East, which connects into a shopping center with the Walmart Neighborhood Market.

At this week’s meeting, several residents stood up during public comment and urged the council to take action, many saying they had expressed concerns about the intersection over a year ago.

Residents threw out ideas to increase safety, from stationing a police officer there to closing the north 2300 East section of the intersection until the light is built.

Many citizens got emotional when speaking about the incident, with some of the speakers having been people who came upon or witnessed the incident.

Alexis Loreen, Reagan’s sister, agreed with the suggestions provided by citizens, adding that “something needs to be done tonight.”

“You 100 percent need to gain our trust back and gain my trust back,” she said, speaking to the mayor and council. “People are mad and you guys need to do something. And it’s devastating that my sister and her best friend … have to go through this and we’re the ones that are dealing with all of this.”

Melissa East, a mother who lives on Canyon Road, said she contacted the state over a year ago about getting more crosswalks and lights on that road, which is controlled by the Utah Department of Transportation.

“While it’s heartbreaking and I’ve been praying for those girls, I sit and think that could have been my child,” she said, choking up.

Christopher Caroll, a resident of the Maple Meadows neighborhood who said he was present when the collision occurred, said the situation was a “foreseeable tragedy.”

Caroll noted the shopping center across the street has a soda shop and pizza restaurant, making it a “perfect danger situation” for young teenagers and children trying to cross the street to access those businesses.

“The neighborhood is full of 1,000 young kids,” he said. “They all are trying to cross Canyon Road to get to those attractions that we built and that we, you know, built the houses in the neighborhood and we didn’t provide that protection of a light and a crosswalk there. That, to me, is a failure.”

Canyon Road, the main thoroughfare in the intersection, is owned by UDOT, city engineer Chris Thompson explained during the meeting, meaning the city needs to go through the state’s approval processes to get the light built. The city maintains 2300 East.

Thompson explained that the state requires a warrant study to be conducted after the intersection is built to determine if a light is warranted, which was conducted a few months after the intersection opened in spring 2022.

Thompson said that to get the light constructed quicker, the city entered into an agreement with UDOT to pay for and design the light upfront and then receive a reimbursement from the state.

UDOT then needed to approve the plans, which they did a few weeks ago, and then the city began collecting bids for the project. Thompson said bids were due this week and construction should begin “really, really soon.”

Mayor Mike Mendenhall said during the meeting that he has been in contact with the families and conveyed that they feel the love and prayers from the community.

“They (the families) are seeing every ounce of love and support that you’ve given them,” he said. “And that, that is what makes our community great. It is what makes us still feel small.”

Mendenhall also encouraged people to donate to the families to assist with medical costs, saying there are two crowdfunding pages set up for the girls. As of Thursday afternoon, Reagan’s has received more than $15,000 and Olivia’s had gathered nearly $9,000.


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