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These dangerous Fresno County intersections are getting 4-way stops after deadly crashes

Drone video shows dangerous Fresno County intersections

Recent crashes have prompted the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to approve four-way stop signs at three different intersections near Selma. See where they are in this drone video.
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Recent crashes have prompted the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to approve four-way stop signs at three different intersections near Selma. See where they are in this drone video.

A handful of dangerous intersections in Fresno County will become four-way stops, in the aftermath of tragic fatal crashes at those locations.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved new stops at three intersections near Selma and Kingsburg.

That includes four-way stops at Bethel and Rose avenues, Academy and Nebraska avenues, and Bethel and Nebraska avenues.

County staff estimate around 5,000 vehicles travel through each of those intersections daily, and additional stop signs may have prevented collisions.

Altogether, the stop signs will cost the county about $1,700.

By the numbers, the worst of the intersections is Academy and Nebraska. From January to December 2018, there were 13 collisions there that may have been prevented with stop signs, county numbers show.

From November 2017 to October 2018, there were six collisions at Bethel and Nebraska. In 2018, about six collisions may have been prevented by stop signs at Bethel and Rose avenues.

Last month, 8-year-old Maverick Martzen died and his parents were hospitalized after an alleged drunken driver blew the stop sign on Bethel at Rose and T-boned their car, according to California Highway Patrol.

The county’s traffic studies already was underway at the time of the crash.

The driver, 35-year-old Karmjit Singh has been charged with murder in connection to the DUI crash, and the Martzens filed a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit against Singh, seeking an unlimited amount in damages.

“The Martzen family expressed to me that although making this intersection a four-way stop won’t bring back Maverick, they hope and pray it will save others from injury or death,” said Jeff Hammerschmidt, an attorney representing the family.

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Last July, a Reedley couple in their 60s also died in a crash at Bethel and Rose.

Buddy Mendes, District 4 supervisor, said the stop signs will help make the intersections safer, but won’t eliminate all danger.

“In those rural intersections, when people are impaired, they just do stupid things,” he said. “You can have four-way stops, and they’ll blow right through them like nothing.”

When installing stop signs at intersections, county staff must follow guidelines set by the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and conduct traffic studies by certified engineers.

Those studies were completed before the decision this week to install the stop signs.

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Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.
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