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Wahoo community pushes for intersection changes following fatal crashes

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Wahoo family is mourning the loss of three family members, all 18 and younger, killed in a crash at a busy intersection.

It happened Tuesday night in the early evening. 18-year-old Monica Chohon was driving her two brothers, 7-year-old Andrew and 11-year-old James.

The State Patrol said she was heading south on Highway 109 just before the Highway 77 intersection. Initial investigations show she stopped at a stop sign and then proceeded to try to cross over six lanes when she was hit by a pick-up heading east.

Just standing out at the intersection where Highway 77 and 109 meet, traffic goes pretty fast. 70 miles per hour one way, and 50 miles per hour the other.

“This intersection is busy all the time,” said Wendy Mach of Wahoo. “You have people coming from Omaha, going to Omaha, it’s probably the most trafficked area.”

Mach reached out to 10/11 NOW after Tuesday’s crash. Her parents, Larry and Marty, were killed in a crash at the same intersection in September of 2020. Her father was a member of the county board, pushing for changes to that intersection before his death.

“My heart breaks for that family because they shouldn’t have to be going through this,” Mach said. “Something should have been done. They never looked at the accident report to even try to come out and try to change something.”

Mach said she was told by officials that following any deadly crash they would come out and review the area for improvements but when she followed up, nothing had been done.

Nebraska roads data shows over 10,000 cars travel through the intersection a day, 1,000 of those are trucks.

Right now, east and west are controlled by flashing yellows. North and south, controlled by flashing reds and stop signs.

“Now I think everyone’s waking up like ‘Why is nothing being done?’” Mach said. “Why is nobody looking at this? Why is there a stoplight at this intersection but not here?”

NDOT said it was asked to study if a traffic signal should go in the area but they concluded it wouldn’t make a difference. So far, Mach said the intersection looks the same 10 months later.

“This has got to end, five lives lost is five too many,” Mach said.

Mach and others in the Wahoo community have started a petition drive and are calling representatives to try to get change in motion.

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