Sharp County woman fights to make road safer

Sharp County woman fights to make road safer

ASH FLAT, AR (KAIT) - A Sharp County woman is working hard to make a road in Ash Flat safer for all drivers.

Colleen Wylie of Cherokee Village lost her best friend, Marie Hitchcock, in a deadly wreck this past June.

The wreck occurred on Highway 62 near the Walmart in Ash Flat.

Hitchcock was pulling out of one of the Walmart entrances next to Nix Ridge Road when another vehicle hit her.

At first Wylie was in shock from losing her best friend, but then she decided it was time to work for a solution so this tragedy does not happen to anyone else.

"I couldn't even talk for that day that I was told about it,"Wylie said. "I don't want anybody else to get hurt up there. They have accidents up there all the time."

The highway speed limit is 55 miles per hour until you near the Walmart, where it changes to 45 miles per hour.

There is also only one turn lane through the center of the road for both sides of the highway.

Multiple businesses along this road told Region 8 News they see people speeding through the area often.

"I have been working at this store for 8 years and during that time I have seen some pretty bad accidents and it is usually because someone pulled out in front of someone who was going too fast," Jeff Tharp, an employee at O-Reilly's Auto Parts, said.

Wylie's suggested solution to the speeding and limited turning space is a light or two to be put in at the Walmart entrances.

"I think there should be a light put up there for the safety of people because I know if there was a safe way out Marie would have taken it," Wylie said.

For a light to be constructed in this area it would be up to the state to put it in. It would then be maintained by the city.

Wylie has attended city meetings in Cherokee Village, Hardy and Highland over the past few months to express her concern and plead for help in getting a stoplight put in.

She has also sent a letter to the county Quorum Court and contacted Mayor Fowler of Ash Flat.

Mayor Fowler has put in a request for a survey of the area to be done, which is one of the first steps by the state to determine if a light needs to be put in or not.

This process of getting a survey completed by the state can sometimes take up to two months.

Representative Scott Baltz told Wylie a local private company could do the survey if the city wanted, but this could cost around $5,000 to complete.

Baltz also told Wylie he would talk with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department to see if he could speed up the survey process and see what could be done to keep the area safe for drivers.

Wylie just hopes something can be done before another driver is injured or killed.

Wylie told Region 8 News she is speaking on behalf of Hitchcock's husband, daughter and son who would also like something done to prevent another family from going through a loss like this.

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