LEO-CEDARVILLE, Ind. (WANE) — An unusual danger came crashing through her front door days after she moved in. Eleven years and 43 accidents later, a mother of three is pleading with state and town leaders to make the road in front of her home safer.
Hundreds of drivers travel past Jane King’s home every day. It sits off a 90 degree curve on State Road 1 in Leo-Cedarville, in between a reservoir and town park.
But on April 1, 2004 — it began.
King woke up at 1 a.m. to a large pickup truck that crashed into her front porch. According to the crash report, a drunk driver heading east kept going straight instead of curving north.
It wasn’t the last time her house would be hit. Last October, an elderly woman did the same thing. King said the woman hit the gas instead of the brake.
“She broke the foundation of the house. I never would have thought that would happen,” King said. “I’m tired of it. I feel like there’s a failure to protect this home and my children.”
She continued, “My children can’t play outside in the front yard because I’m afraid they’re going to die.”
15 Finds Out combed through every crash report in that area since 2004 to uncover the primary cause for the 43 accidents:
- Speed/weather–24 accidents
- Vehicles following too closely–6 accidents
- Alcohol–3 accidents
- Driver overcorrected–2 accidents
- Driver fatigue–2 accidents
- Unknown–2 accidents
- Vehicle left of center–1 accident
- Tire failure–1 accident
- Swerved to miss a cat–1 accident
- Distracted driver–1 accident
The Indiana Department of Transportation agrees the curve’s history is concerning. The state is proposing a solution that involves increasing signage, despite the fact that drivers have damaged at least 30 of the same signs.
INDOT Communications Director Toni Mayo said leaders want to close sections of Main Street and St. Joseph Street that approach State Road 1. Crews would then add four-feet-tall reflective signs with arrows where the roads are closed. Mayo said this would create a “visual barrier” for drivers.
“Their eyes will just naturally look at these signs, see that they’re bright yellow, and they will follow the curve around,” Mayo said.
King doesn’t think road closures and signs will be enough. She wants a stronger barrier to protect her home. But INDOT sees it differently.
“A lot of people would think that guardrails would keep people out of their yard. But what it could do is throw vehicles back into traffic,” Mayo said. “She lives on a curve and made that decision to live on the curve. I don’t know what the particulars were, why she decided to live on the curve, but there are risks when you make that decision.”
Big concern, small town
The Leo-Cedarville Town Council has to approve INDOT’s plan, since it involves a couple town roads.
“I was actually surprised to find out how many issues have occurred on the curve, having traveled it more times than I can count from both directions and never having an issue with it myself,” Veatch said.
After King brought her concerns to the town’s attention, town attorney Patrick Proctor sent a letter to INDOT asking the state to make changes before planned roadwork in 2016.
In the meantime, King’s family is living in an apartment and waiting for their home to be fixed. At this point, the only reassurance for King comes in the form of a large tree that stands in front of her home.
When asked why King hasn’t moved, she said at this point, she can’t afford the cost.