Deputy involved in crash in 'high-crash' area - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Deputy involved in crash in 'high-crash' area

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RED BANK, TN (WRCB) -

Tennessee State Troopers are investigating an early morning crash involving Hamilton County Deputy Jimmy Bowers. 

Officials say Deputy Bowers was headed north bound in the 1700 block of Dayton Boulevard when the crash happened. 

It appears he may have been exiting the Dayton Boulevard exit ramp from U.S. 27, but the crash is still under investigation. 

No one was injured and officials with the Sheriff's Department say both vehicles received minor damage. THP officials tell us the Deputy's patrol car had to be towed away. 

Red Bank Police worked a similar crash about 24 hours earlier, so we wanted to see just how many crashes are investigated in the 1700 block of Dayton Boulevard each year. 

Records show that Chattanooga and Red Bank Police investigated a total of 164 crashes last year to date, with 131 of those seeing property damage. 50 people in all have been injured there in a crash since May 2nd of last year.  

Officials say the year before, there were 166 crashes and 117 before that. 

Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol says it's a big problem. 

"It's pretty close to every other day based on the numbers we have of over 160 in last 365 days, we're dealing with a lot of crashes up there," said Chief Tim Christol, Red Bank Police Dept. " Something has to change and we have to educate the public because right now this is the situation that we have." 

Chief Christol says the number of crashes nearly tripled after T-DOT's  U.S. Highway 27. Improvement Project when crews eliminated the Whitehall Road exit ramp in July of 2012 because it didn't meet design standards.

"People are getting off there at Dayton Boulevard exit and when they get to the bottom of the ramp they're attempting a U-turn to go back up to either City Green or go back up Dayton Boulevard the other way," said Chief Christol. " It's a very expensive design that created this and until we're able to do something physically to change it we have to educate the public, we have to let them know this is incredibly dangerous." 

Red Bank police say they've tried a number of things in an attempt to reduce crashes but drivers are in such a hurry, they have knocked down barriers and even driven over them. 

The Department has increased patrols but they simply don't have enough officers to put someone down here full time. Chief Christol says he will continue to look for a long term solution but until then all drivers need to be cautious. 

We also reached out to Jennifer Flynn, spokeswoman for T-DOT, she tells us since the project was paid for using 80% Federal funds, the Federal Highway Administration wouldn't let T-DOT leave a ramp that didn't meet standards. She says she is going to look to see if there's any room for improvement. 


 

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