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Woman almost hit by car crash due to misuse of downtown parking lane

FORT WAYNE - A Fort Wayne woman is counting her blessings after almost being run over by a car. Hana Wissler says the problem is that drivers are misusing a Downtown parking lane.

Sunday afternoon at about 4:30 p.m., two cars crashed at the corner of Broadway and Stophlet St., where the thrift store "The Building" is located.

Wissler, who works there, was selling a couch on the corner outside of the store. Literally three seconds after getting up from the couch to talk to some other folks on the sidewalk, the car crash happens at the intersection. The vehicles crash into the building, taking out the couch she was just sitting on.

"I almost lost my life," she said. "I was so lucky to have gotten up in time. It was like an angel had picked me up and took me over there. I could have gotten hit if I hadn't gotten up three seconds earlier." 

PICTURES OF BROADWAY AND STOPHLET ST CRASH

The Building owner Laura Hancock said dozens of crashes have happened at the intersection outside her store.

"I was upstairs and heard the biggest crash yet and I just flew downstairs and I knew what it was," she said, explaining how she rushed to see if Wissler was okay.

Hancock said that she's fed up with the crashes because she believes they're avoidable. Over the last five years, she has seen pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and even police get been hit.

She explained that the problem is people are driving down the parking lane on Broadway, creating a lane for themselves. They're impatient with the backed up traffic that the Broadway and Taylor St. intersection creates.

While driving south on Broadway, drivers drive through the parking spots by the curb to pass up cars and get to the Taylor St. turn lane faster but on their way to it, they forget about the Stophlet St. intersection and rush through it.

As people going north on Broadway turn left onto Stophlet St., they sometimes crash into the driver going down the opposing parking lane because they're hidden behind cars that are in the "real" lane.

Last summer, Hancock called City of Fort Wayne traffic engineer Kyle Winling to tell him about the intersection. He came and checked out the site after seeing that there were five crashes there in 2017 due to left turn accidents.

Winling promised Hancock that he'll have his team come down and paint diagonal road stripes next to the curb that will keep drivers out of the parking lane until they actually reach the turn lane that goes onto Taylor St.

"It's really hard to control driver behavior, but with the improvements we're doing we're basically trying to make safety improvement and help delineate traffic so the drivers know stay in this lane verses getting over in the parking lane," he said. "I'm trying to help Mrs. Hancock because she brought it to my attention." 

Hancock is feeling somewhat optimistic.

"I'm glad," Hancock said. "Somebody's going to get hurt and it's scary. It's really scary. Yesterday was the worst. I hope the stripes work."

Winling said they'll have the road stripes painted by September.


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