Notorious U.S. Highway becomes Scene of Another Fatal Crash
US Highway 231 in Bedford County
by Brent Frazier
Shelbyville, TENN. - If there's such a thing as an ideal place for a traffic accident, in front of a hospital would have to be it. But doctors at Heritage Medical Center were unable to save the life of another victim of a collision along US Highway 231 in Bedford County.
"Be seen, be visible. Run as much radar as we can," Shelbyville Police Officer Matt Griffy said around sunset Sunday. Watching approaching traffic through his carefully aimed speed detecting radar, Griffy spoke of an increase along this stretch of road; an increase in police patrol and an increase in speeding citations.
Officer Griffy works on the PD's traffic enforcement division and is an accident investigator. A key part of the police department six years now, Griffy notes an increased danger along Highway 231 on the northernmost edge of the city limits.
The 65 mile-an-hour speed limit, according to many who live here, needs to be reduced soon. The city of Shelbyville will explore that option this Thursday at a city council meeting. Griffy also points out some design flaws that, however small, can present huge challenges on a crowded thoroughfare with many cross streets, a booming business section, and an industrial park that's watching everything grow up around it.
"We have a lot of tractor-trailers coming in and dropping off supplies," said Griffy, adding that a Wal-Mart distribution center, one of the older tenants in the immediate area, brings heavy duty semi traffic almost daily.
The fairly recent addition of the Medical Center is also helping increase traffic. But Heritage Medical is helping contribute toward the solution, with a $97,780 downpayment toward traffic signals in front of the Center. The entrances and exits for the hospital appear to be a quickly growing hotspot for accidents.
It's the precise scene of the latest fatality accident, just this past Thursday. Police say a mother and son slammed head-on into a man trying to turn into the Medical Center. Burtis Landers, 82, was the driver attempting the turn. Landers was flown via LifeFlight Helicopter to Vanderbilt in Nashville but later died.
His is said to be the fourth Highway 231 fatal crash, in two years, between the intersection near the hospital and one not far from there that could also be in need of a traffic signal.