Neighbors Push for Change After Two Deadly Crashes

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY – A Port Matilda man was killed Monday after his scooter crashed into a Mini Cooper at a busy intersection in State College.

The Centre County Coroner said 39 year-old Joel Reed, of Port Matilda, died at Mount Nittany Medical Center from his injuries.

This is the second deadly accident in that intersection in the last year. Now, neighbors are pushing for change.

“I’m frustrated and I’m sad,” Donna Queeney, President of the College Heights Association, said.

Last year, Queeney helped start at grassroots effort to bring red light cameras to State College. That effort has subsided, as local legislators say there isn’t enough support from the state to bring them to State College.

“We said we hope it’s not going to take somebody being killed at this intersection to make something happen,” Queeney said. “Since then, two people have been killed. So am I sad? Does it upset me? Yes.”

Queeney and thousands others cross the intersection at North Atherton Street and Park Avenue every day.

“My biggest challenge of the day was crossing Atherton,” she said. “It’s rare that I cross that intersection and don’t see at least one car and maybe three or four running the red light.”

State College Police Chief Tom King said that’s not all that happens. He said people turn into the path of other cars and rear end the cars in front of them, too.

He blames distracted driving and said this intersection is one of the worst.

“The speed limit on that roadway being 35 MPH, people are going above that, you’re often talking about crashes that are 45 and 50 MPH,” he said. “When something happens at Park and Atherton, it’s usually pretty severe.”

Queeney wants something to be done to solve the problem soon, even if the answer isn’t red light cameras.

“I realize that it’s a difficult intersection for the police to patrol, just because of the physical layout of the intersection,” she said. “But we need more enforcement there, the fact that people feel they can go through the red light and nobody is going to stop them, that is a little scary.”

The red light camera petition didn’t come without controversy. Many people in the community said those cameras aren’t efficient and aren’t needed in State College and instead, drivers should pay more attention on the road.

Police said the cause of Monday’s crash is still under investigation and they’re still determining whether or not charges will be filed.

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February 07 2021 06:30 pm

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