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New traffic light operating at intersection where college rower died

Signal at IR Boulevard and Barber Bridge
Posted at 6:53 PM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 04:27:38-05

VERO BEACH, Fla. — At the Merrill Barber Bridge, there’s a new traffic light where it ends on the mainland at Indian River Boulevard in Vero Beach.

It’s a different kind of light.

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“Then turns into a flashing yellow. Allows traffic to proceed with caution to go over the bridge," said Lt. Matt Harrelson with Vero PD.

Harrelson goes back to this intersection on the morning of Jan. 15. He happened to be one of the first people on the scene to see what happened -- a horrible two-vehicle crash. Grace Rett, 20, a rower with the College of the Holy Cross was killed in the wreck.

The initial report showed the rowing coach behind the wheel, Patrick Diggins, was turning on to the bridge and pulled into the path of a truck heading north.

While the final report is due any day, the College announced last Friday that Diggins had retired.

The new traffic signal is one of a handful of new safety measures targeting traffic along Indian River Boulevard.

“We’re running 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rest of the week and possibly into next week look at some numbers and see what happens at the intersection to enforce this light," said Harrelson.

While officers say the amount of traffic doesn’t lead to much speeding, it is something else the police will be on the lookout for, but most importantly, they want drivers to look at the new light carefully.

“For us as police department for it to come full circle to make changes. In our opinion, with enforcement and changes to the intersection with lighting. Best case scenario is no one ever dies or gets hurt at intersection ever again," said Harrelson.