Safety measures to be taken at deadly intersection

FOX 35 News at 10 p.m.

- The Florida Department of Transportation plans to make changes to an intersection in DeLand, to make it safer, after a grandmother and three children were killed in a horrific accident. 

Flowers and plush toys began popping up at the site of a fatal crash, which claimed the lives of a woman and three little children.  There are lots of very visible reminders of what happened on Tuesday at State Road 44 and Grand Avenue in DeLand -- broken pieces of vehicles and scorched earth from a fire.  Now, a small memorial has been growing as people came by to pay their respects.

"It’s sad for the family I saw some of the family yesterday," said Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson.

According to the FHP, Sandy Lopes was driving eastbound on SR 44 in a Jeep Wrangler when the vehicle collided with a Ford Explorer that had crossed into its path. The Wrangler rolled and became engulfed in flames.  Lopes and her three grandchildren — Aryana Thomas, 2, Jadyn Thomas, 4, and Aliyia, 5 — all died in the crash. 

A Go Fund Me account has been established to help cover burial expenses.  Click here to read more

The crash prompted officials to take a closer look at the intersection.  Now, FDOT plans to install a temporary traffic signal, until a roundabout can be built.

"I’m very pleased it’s something that’s moved very fast," Johnson said. "You’ve had numerous accidents at this intersection and the more it goes on the more it’s going to happen. It’s going to make a big difference."

Johnson said the county has considered it to be a dangerous intersection for some time.  County statistics show since 2011, there have been 33 vehicle accidents. Of those, 14 occurred just last year.  According to FHP spokesperson Sgt. Kim Montes, state statistics show there has only been one other fatal crash since 2004 and that was in 2013.

Officials tell FOX 35 it will take around 10 months for the roundabout to be built.


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