Concerns rise at Johnson County intersection after serious accidents

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — Some residents of the Center Grove school district are calling for road improvements after several serious crashes recently.

Residents of Johnson County’s Buckmoor Manor subdivision located on State Road 135 in between Smith Valley Road and Olive Branch Road have been trying to come up with a solution. One neighbor even put a poll online to get input.

Safety at Buckmoor Manor and State Road 135 is personal for White River Township Fire Department Chief Jeremy Pell. It’s not just his district, it’s his home.

“I have a 17-year-old and a 12-year-old. It’s not going to be too long before he’s driving,” Pell said.

And for Chief Pell’s teenager, there’s a rule: no left turn out of their subdivision.

“He’s not to turn left at that intersection. It is very high in consequences. Those cars are traveling quickly. The road is wide,” Pell said.

Those consequences were magnified after a Center Grove High School student died in a crash near the area and a pedestrian was struck by a driver. Both accidents happened within days of one another last month.

However, according to Pell, accidents in the area make up only a small fraction of his department’s runs. Last year, the fire department responded to 16 accidents in the area, compared to the departments approximately 3,000 runs in 2017.

“Despite what the number of accidents are, they’re very serious accidents and they’re life-changing for families. For that reason, we want to dig into it,” Pell said.

The fire chief is getting help from neighbors like Ken Cunningham. Cunningham started an online poll on the app Nextdoor, asking if people supported a “no left turn,” sign. At last check, 37 people had voted. 78 percent voted “no” and 22 percent voted “yes.”

“Only people on Nextdoor, Buckmoor can see the poll. I think they have the most to gain or lose,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham is concerned that drivers would ignore the no left turn sign or turn right, then make a U-turn down the road at Olive Branch Road, creating more problems.

Other proposals include adding streetlights, slowing down the speed limit, and adding a stoplight or a flashing light.

“Something needs to be done. My preference would be a blinking yellow light to warn traffic on 135 to slow down,” Cunningham said.

It’s an option Pell is open to, for more reason than one.

“It’s personal,” the fire chief said.

A second meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday. It will be held at the White River Trustee Office, 2929 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood.