Deadly Pileup Anniversary Brings Change, Memories - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Deadly Pileup Anniversary Brings Change, Memories

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by Adam Ghassemi

GALLATIN, Tenn. – December 2011 started in tragedy. Early-morning fog and ice covered Vietnam Veterans Boulevard causing four crashes and a 55-car pileup.

18 people went to the hospital. 28-year-old Paul Warren and 62-year-old James Ziegler lost their lives.

"You don't ever expect to see anything like that," said Hendersonville resident Richard Schultz, who recently opened Madison-based Schultz Monument Company.

When Schultz found out Sumner County officials wanted to dedicate a monument to honor the anniversary he offered to do what he knows best: make one.

"They were talking about a bronze plaque and unfortunately in our day and time, you know, with vandalism and everything else somebody could steal it," he said.

"That was just something that I could do to help recognize, to memorialize the people and also recognize what the first responders did," Schultz went on to say.

The stone isn't the only thing that's new.

Over the summer, TDOT put up larger signs, better stripes and reflectors.

"So people know when that curve is coming up and they have limited sight distance with the fog," said TDOT spokeswoman Beth Emmons citing one of the biggest problems during last year's pileup.

"We understand that freezing fog was definitely a contributing factor, but you know there was also a problem with seeing what was in front of you, which we believe caused the secondary crashes," she said.

Sumner County leaders plan to dedicate the monument and tree Monday, December 17th at 6 p.m. outside the County Building in Gallatin. It honors those lost, hurt and the men and women who responded.

TDOT officials say the safest way to drive in fog is to slow down and use your low-beams.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
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