I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been down there to take a photo. And most of the time it’s pretty bad.
I’m talking about the stretch of death — Ohio 601 and its intersections at Ohio 18, U.S. 20 and Ohio 61.
Huron County Public Health had a booth at this year’s county fair and gave people a chance to fill out a survey. One of the questions was: What intersection did you think is the most dangerous in Huron County?
I filled in all three because I have seen so many accidents at all of them.
When I drive through the area I always slow down. Ohio 61 and 601 even has a stop light but that one, for some reason, scares me the most.
It wasn’t that too long ago when I took photos of an accident at U.S. 20 and Ohio 601 when a man from California blew the stop sign heading north on Ohio 601 and was killed.
I was at the St. Paul-Tiffin Calvert football game Friday night when the sirens went past Whitney Field heading east out of town. A couple of minutes later a second wave of sirens went by. That usually means something bad happened.
I had my camera with me, so I headed out U.S. 20 looking for an accident. Nothing was there, so I headed south on Ohio 601 and just as I got to the race track I could see the lights.
When I finally made my way to the intersection there was a pretty major two-vehicle accident. Fortunately, nobody was killed, but looking at the one car, somebody was looking out for that driver.
I talked to Katie Spaar, director of community health for Huron County Public Health, and she talked a little about the survey at the fair.
“We do have a grant; it’s called Huron County Safe Communities Coalition,” Spaar said. “We are collecting that data for safe communities. We want to promote traffic safety.”
While the final numbers are not in, Spaar said when they are finalized the coalition will use them to look for some answers.
“They do look at traffic accidents and fatalities,” she said. “Hopefully, they will used some of their funds will address the problem. … We are working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to address any problem areas.”
Norwalk Fire Chief John Soisson knows that stretch of road all too well.
“They are grade crossings,” he said. “Basically, when you come up to an intersection, they are all on the same grade (and it is tough to see who is coming the other ways). They put rumble strips in and that has helped. When you are not familiar with the area you are looking right through them.
“I just think when you are unfamiliar it’s tougher. A lot of your map services bring them that way and people are unfamiliar with the area.
“We make all of the (Ohio) 601 accidents automatic responses to Norwalk and Townsend Township. The intersection splits our coverage. We don’t want to worry about whose coverage area it is in,” Soisson said.
“I don’t know the statistics, but I knew we have some nasty ones there. Things go in streaks. We have years when we go crazy with (U.S.) 250. This year on (Ohio) 601 they have all been nasty.”
Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]