Edmonton

Motorists call for changes at Parkland County intersection following fatal collision

Jordi Weidman says it's a miracle he's alive after an accident at Highway 16A and Range Road 20, west of Stony Plain in Parkland County.

There have been 23 collisions at Highway 16A and Range Road 20 in last five years: RCMP

Jordi Weidman's truck and boat were destroyed in a crash he said he was lucky to walk away from. (Jordi Weidman/Facebook)

Jordi Weidman says it's a miracle he's alive after an accident at Highway 16A and Range Road 20, west of Stony Plain in Parkland County.

He was travelling on the highway on July 30 with his 10-year-old son, when a car came barrelling toward him on the intersecting Range Road. When Weidman realized the car wasn't slowing down, he slammed on the brakes and swerved. The crash sent Weidman's truck and boat spinning into the ditch. 

"It's terrifying," Weidman said.

"I just yelled out, 'Eric, Eric, are you alright in the backseat?' and just those moments of silence before [my son] was able to collect himself and say, 'Yeah.' As soon as you hear his voice, it's relief." 

The intersection of Highway 16A and Range Road 20 is notorious in the community, to the point people avoid it because of its reputation, Weidman said. 

Debris can be seen in the back of Weidman's truck. (Jordi Weidman/Facebook)

"I'm hoping that out of all of this some changes can happen to the way they address the signage. Maybe a flashing amber light or some rumble strips," he said.

Just days after Weidman's accident, a man died at that intersection in a collision. 

A police officer arrived on scene around 6:45 p.m. Monday. They radioed for help after seeing a man trapped inside one of the vehicles. 

The trapped man was seen with "severe visible injuries," police say, and attempts to give first aid were hampered by fallen power lines near the vehicle. The man was later declared dead. 

Keshia Korrall was one of the first people on scene that day. She's now leading a campaign to make it safer with the support of police.

After witnessing the devastation of Monday's collision, Korall created a Facebook page to highlight the issue and quickly saw membership jump to nearly 900 people. Many have shared stories of their own crashes, or collisions their family members endured. 

LISTEN | Advocate wants more safety measures at intersection:

She's also reached out to her MLA and others in the Alberta government.

"I'm waiting for a call back from the Minister of Transportation and I've also sent in a letter to Premier Kenney," she said.

Korall also has the support of the RCMP.

"The RCMP would support anything that's going to make roads safer for everybody so absolutely, if she spearheads the campaign, we certainly stand behind it because that just means less collisions in that area," said Cpl. Cuneyt Zanbak of the Parkland RCMP detachment.

There have been 23 collisions in the last five years at that intersection, including the recent fatal. More than 75 per cent of those have resulted in injuries, Zanbak said.

Gregg Wilson knows the intersection well. Working as a tow truck driver in Parkland Country for more than 15 years, he's been called to at least 100 accidents there, he said.

Weidman says this car hit his truck and he and his son rolled several times. (Jordi Weidman/Facebook)

"To me, it really comes down to drivers just driving responsible," he said. 

"And the ones that don't, affect the people that are driving responsible on that highway."

Finding a solution is "kind of tricky," though, he said.

They could close that small section of the Range Road, but that would impact traffic at other crossings.

Wilson would opt to install more lighting at the intersection and flashing stop signs facing the northbound and southbound traffic lanes, he said.

CBC News contacted Alberta Transportation for response to the request for changes at the intersection.

In a statement, a ministry spokesperson did not say if any action would be taken, but cited Alberta Transportation receives one or two complaints about the intersection each year.

From 2013-2017, there were 29 collisions at or within 500 metres of the intersection and 25 people were injured. There were no fatalities, the spokesperson said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Pasiuk

Reporter

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter for CBC Edmonton who also covers news for CBC Saskatchewan. She has filmed two documentaries. Emily reported in Saskatchewan for three years before moving to Edmonton in 2020. Tips? Ideas? Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

With files from Scott Stevenson

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