"I have lived here for 21 years and have seen far too many accidents at this intersection," Aron Royer said. "This area is heavily traveled by schoolchildren, and after this accident I felt something needed to be done."
On Friday, Nov. 16, Justin W. Snow, 17, was killed in an automobile accident at the intersection. Snow's passenger Gerald "JJ" Bramer, 14, and the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, Justin T. White, 16, were also injured in the accident. According to police reports, Snow was turning south onto Kennedy Crossing Road from CR 950 N when the accident occurred.
Royer was determined to get things done.
He approached the Clay County Commissioners for assistance in clearing out the trees and brush on the southeast corner of the intersection to help increase visibility.
A couple of potential hitches stood in the way of getting the project started, but were easily overcome.
The trees and brush were on property owned by resident Tom Lynch, plus the trees had power lines running through them, which were property of Duke Energy.
"Tom agreed that something needed to be done to make the area safer and allowed us to make improvements," Royer said. "The county then came out and trimmed up some of the larger brush from the tree line and I went in and took down the fence."
Royer said he and another local resident, whose wife had been in an accident at the intersection years ago and suffered minor injuries, cleared out additional small brush once the fence had been taken down.
Lynch, who owns Lynch's Market, which is also on Kennedy Crossing Road, understands the problems drivers in the area can encounter.
"It (the intersection) is a really bad spot, and I wanted to help make it easier for people to see cars coming," he said. "Parts of Kennedy Crossing are too low and people at the stop sign can have a lot of trouble seeing oncoming traffic. The road probably needs to be built up."
He also said Royer initially came to him with the project and is pleased by how quick action has been taken.
"This has been a bad situation and I appreciate the county's efforts to make it better," Lynch said.
The commissioners contacted Duke Energy about clearing out the trees from the power lines, and the company was more than happy to help out.
"We called Duke Energy to make sure the trees could be taken down, and they were willing to do the work for us," Commissioner Jack Withers said. "They sent out a company called Asplin, who is contracted to do tree trimming services for Duke, and they cut down many of the trees on the line."
Employees of the Clay County Highway Department were on-site recently to clear out even more brush and pull the stumps out of the ground.
Withers said there are also plans to take down the embankment where the trees were about three feet to increase visibility even further.
"It is important to get this done to help residents of Clay County travel all our county roads safely," he said. "Aron and Tom, along with Paul Zurcher of Duke Energy, deserve so much credit and thanks for getting this project in motion and for all the hard work they have done."
Royer is just as thankful for all the cooperation and help in making this project a reality.
"The county has worked on it a couple days so far and still have a few more stumps left to get, but their work has been amazing," he said. "The county reached an agreement with Tom to be able to do the work and everyone involved in this have done an excellent job."