NewsLocal News


'It's extremely dangerous:' Wahoo residents seeking safer intersection after deadly crash

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 19:38:25-04

WAHOO, Neb. (KMTV) — After another deadly crash, people in the Wahoo area are trying to make it known to the Department of Transportation and local elected officials that an intersection just north of town is extremely dangerous and something needs to be done.

In a roughly 10 month span, five people have died in this intersection, located in the northeast part of Wahoo.

Last September, Saunders County Supervisor Larry Mach and his wife Margaret were killed.

Then last week, Monica, James, and Andrew Chohon passed away in another crash.

“Small town everybody knows them or knows of them. Or knows the family. And it just gets pretty personal,” said Wahoo Mayor Jerry Johnson.

Johnson said after the Mach’s passed away, they were told to wait until emotions died down.

“We can't do that again. We did that a year ago, nothing happened, we got to keep this going,” said Johnson.

There's a clear push now to change the blinking yellow and red light system into something safer.

An online petition has over 11,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, asking for a stoplight.

Both the city council and county board passed resolutions this week, asking the state to do something.

Saunders county resident Kelly Luetkenhues is one of the many seeking changes.

“I know that we have to keep pressure on because like I said nobody wants it to be their family members or loved ones or friends that are the next casualty,” said Luetkenhues.

The intersection has existed for around four years, and the area around it has grown, including a bustling campground at Lake Wanahoo.

The extra traffic makes the existing light system, which amounts to a stop sign for north-south traffic, tough to navigate when busy.

“For most people, you try to be patient but then after a certain period of time, especially I think with younger drivers, you’re like I gotta go, I cant stay here all day, I’m going to be late for school, late for work, I got to get across,” said Luetkenhues.

So many in the area are clamoring for a traffic light, with the sheriff and others also hoping the speed limit goes down to 50.

“Even if there is an impact, less chance of a fatality or serious accident if it’s going 50 rather than going 60-70 miles an hour,” said Luetkenhues.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation tells 3 News Now they’re in the early stages of planning an evaluation that includes a typical evaluation and use of technology.

"Information gained from this evaluation aids us in better understanding as to how the intersection operates in different situations."

You can expect the community to keep pushing.

“We’ll stay at it until something is improved,” said Johnson.

Download our apps today for all of our latest coverage.

Get the latest news and weather delivered straight to your inbox.