North Idaho

Post Falls intersection has deadly history

Post Falls intersection has deadly history

POST FALLS, Idaho - Three people have now died at the intersection of Pleasant View and Prairie in Post Falls. People who drive that stretch are wondering what can be done to prevent these tragedies.

Work is underway to make this intersection safer. The Post Falls Highway District says they've installed rumble strips and oversized stop signs with flashing red lights, and now they're seeing what else can be done.

Jeremiah Latham knew something bad had happened down the street from his house Monday afternoon.

"[I] heard a whole bunch of sirens, fire trucks, ambulances, cop cars, they shut down the road here and they wouldn't let anybody by for hours," said Latham.

Two cars collided at the intersection when one of the drivers didn't stop at the stop sign. One driver was killed, the other sent to the hospital.

"It is obviously one of the most dangerous crash intersections we have just because of the speed," said Lt. Stu Miller with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.

Residents have been concerned about the intersection for years.

"A lot of drivers don't stop," said Latham. "I've seen on many occasions people just roll up slow and keep going."

The Post Falls Highway District says after the first fatal accident in April 2015, they changed the contour of the roadway at the intersection, adding the rumble strips and the stop signs with flashing red lights.

"We've been working with them hand-in-hand trying to get those implemented in that intersection," said Lt. Miller. "It really comes down to cost and traffic flow."

After the second fatality in August 2015, the highway district says it hired an independent firm to figure out how to make it safer. They are now considering a roundabout or signals, but will have to get federal or state grants to build an expensive project like that.

So, for now, the highway district and the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office say the best way to prevent a crash is to pay attention.

"Unfortunately, you can put up all the barriers and everything you can, but you still have to have some personal accountability, people have to understand they need to be paying attention when they're driving," said Lt. Miller.

The highway district says right now they don't have a timeline on when a project on this intersection would happen because it would depend on those grants, but they will be discussing the intersection at their next meeting. That meeting is next Wednesday at 6 p.m.