Concerned neighbors in Kane County said their once quiet commute is putting themselves and other drivers in danger almost every day. They point to an intersection in Sugar Grove that’s been the site of nearly two dozen accidents since 2000, in which many drivers and their passengers have been sent to nearby hospitals.
“We hear tires screeching and horns blowing just about on a daily basis,” said Mark Vogtmann, who lives near the intersection of Scott Road and Harter Road.
Yonathan M. Contreras Chapa, 36, of Bartlett was killed after a wreck on September 9th. A spokesperson for the Kane County Sheriff said Contreras was traveling west in a 2003 Acura on Scott Road and failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of Harter Road. He collided with a 2000 Chevy Venture that was traveling north on Harter Road, which does not have a stop sign.
The accident remains under investigation.
Contreras is survived by a sister, Sara Contreras, who said her brother earned a master’s degree and received an award for the best grades at his university, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Estado de México. She also said her brother went to church every Sunday and did not drink or smoke.
“He was working hard for his future,” Paola said. “He was about to start a business.”
NBC 5 Investigates has learned via a Freedom of Information Act request that 23 accidents have occurred at the intersection since 2000. More than half of the wrecks resulted in injuries.
Nichole Nortmann said her three-year-old son, Liam, suffered lacerations from his car seat as a result of an accident at Harter and Scott earlier this year.
“Thank heavens everybody survived, but it was very scary and it feels like I play the lottery every time we drive up and down the road,” Nortman said.
Neighbors said in the past they have been told there was not enough traffic at the intersection to install four-way stop signs. But during a recent Kane County Transportation Board meeting in which neighbors voiced their concerns, board members appeared willing to take action.
In fact, board member Bill Lenert said the county now plans to add a four way stop and a flashing light above the intersection.
“I think it’s very important that we not worry about the cost, but take care of what needs to be done and handle things properly,” Lenert said.
After a collision at the intersection on September 21st, the county responded by installing rumble strips in the road surface to help slow traffic.
Danielle Hines lives adjacent to the intersection. She said she won’t let her kids play in the back corner of her yard. However, she said she’s pleased the county is taking steps to prevent future accidents.
“Words cannot express how thankful I am to the county for approving a four way stop sign,” Hines said. “I think it will make a huge difference and save many lives.”
Lenert said the safety improvements could be completed within 30-60 days.