MINEOLA — Flashing traffic signals will be installed at the intersection where five people were killed last week when a cement truck crashed into a van traveling to Bible camp.
“I don’t expect much out of those lights at all,” said Gene Adams, assistant district engineer in the department’s eight-county Tyler office.
But he said that “just based on the remote possibility that it might help, we’re going to go ahead and put up flashing lights.”
The flashing red and amber lights will cost less than $2,000 and could be operating by Monday. The red lights will be put on stop signs for traffic on the farm road, and amber lights on a sign warning U.S. 69 traffic about the intersection 1,000 feet ahead.
The state earlier had decided against the lights because sunlight would render them ineffective, Adams said. Also, engineering studies have shown a stop-and-go signal light on U.S. 69 might increase rear-end collisions.
Officials in the small town about 80 miles east of Dallas have asked for overhead flashing lights for years. Before last week’s crash, two people had died in 22 accidents since 1984.
The van in last week’s crash was the second of three in a convoy carrying teen-agers from Dallas Chinese Bible Church to a five-day church camp in Hawkins, east of Mineola. Five were killed and ten injured in the accident.
There has been debate whether the driver of the van, Betty Lim, 30, came to a complete stop.
David Rayburn, accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said witness accounts have varied. In any event, if she did stop, he said, investigators are trying to determine why she pulled out into the intersection “because she had to yield.”