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FDOT to study Delray Beach intersection after deadly car crash

Community calls for traffic signal
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Posted at 6:51 PM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-26 18:51:02-04

State transportation leaders will study the intersection where an 82-year-old uber driver died in a car crash Wednesday.

The crash involving a Lamborghini and Buick SUV prompted the Florida Department of Transportation to launch a review of Northeast 1st Street and Northeast 6th Avenue, which is the northbound lane of Federal Highway.

NewsChannel 5 obtained police records which show about 40 car crashes at the intersection since June 2011.

As traffic zooms by, Paul Silver's mind goes back to Wednesday.

“The driver of the Lamborghini was there,” he said pointing. 

Silver lives on the corner of the deadly intersection. He and his neighbors said the intersection is prone to violent crashes.

“It’s dangerous. I constantly hear screeching brakes, cars racing, motorcycles going by,” Silver explained.

Surveillance footage captured the moment Gerald Smith turned his Buick in front of a speeding Lamborghini Wednesday.

Police said Roger Wittenberns was behind the wheel of the sports car, was speeding, and admitted to drinking earlier in the afternoon. Investigators believe Wittenberns’ girlfriend was speeding alongside him in a Porsche. 

Friday, FDOT launched a review of the intersection.

“It’s too bad it took that to happen for them to take action on it,” Silver said.

Engineers are taking a two step approach. First, they’ll spend about one month to find out how cars  are crashing at the intersection. Depending on the answers, FDOT will move forward with a larger study to determine if the intersection needs a traffic signal.

“If we had a traffic light here, these things wouldn't happen. This is like the umpteenth, millionth time we've had a car accident here,” said Christina Fuentes, who works at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza on the corner of the intersection.

The restaurant installed cement pilings around its patio to protect diners, just in case a crash sends a car flying into the outdoor seating.

Fuentes said she is tired of seeing crashes over and over.

“I just hate how frequently it happens,” she said.

Fuentes and Silver hope a traffic signal comes soon.

“I think it would help. Something's got to help,” Silver said.

Paramedics took Wittenberns to the hospital after Wednesday’s crash. Today doctor’s updated his condition from serious to fair.

Police said it will take weeks of investigating before they decide whether to charge anyone involved in the crash with a crime.

Smith’s family launched a gofundme account to raise money for a funeral. For more information, click here.
 

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