CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Residents are speaking out after several crashes at the intersection of Courthouse Road and Route 288 in Chesterfield County in recent months, calling for local leaders to take action to improve traffic safety.
Just this week, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, Chesterfield Police responded to the 6800 block of Courthouse Road, just past Route 288 and Newbys Bridge Road, for a two-vehicle crash with non-life-threatening injuries. A spokesperson for the Chesterfield County Police Department noted that one of the drivers reportedly ran a red light.
Portia Lowe said she was driving nearby when it happened.
“There have been several accidents at this intersection, and no one has changed anything,” she told 8News. “One of our coworkers was hit there, as well. Today [Tuesday], again, another accident with someone being transported by medical staff.”
According to Virginia’s Traffic Records Electronic Data System, 11 crashes at and near the intersection of Courthouse Road and Route 288 have been reported to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles so far in 2022. However, the system showed the most recent crash having happened on Aug. 31 at 4:46 p.m., in which two individuals were injured.
Brandy Brubaker, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Director of Communications, explained that crashes must result in more than $1,000 of damage and happen on public roads only — not parking lots — to be reported as part of the Traffic Records Electronic Data System, which can also be delayed.
In 2021, there were 22 reported crashes at and near that intersection.
“People are being hurt, and I just don’t want anyone to be killed before they do something about it,” Lowe said. “If you’re on the amber light, you’re not quite sure what’s happening on the opposite side, and they’re not yielding as they should, and that’s where the accident comes it. We’ve seen trucks turned over.”
There was another reported crash near the Courthouse Road exit on Route 288 north on July 31, claiming the life of a tanker truck driver.
According to Virginia State Police, the crash was first reported at 5:18 p.m. that day. The truck — a 2017 Peterbilt tanker — was carrying 7,000 gallons of gasoline, according to authorities. It reportedly ran off the left side of the road, struck a ditch and overturned. The driver, Michael O. Williams, 69, of North Chesterfield, succumbed to his injuries.
In September, another driver lost their life in a single-vehicle crash in a similar location. According to VSP, the incident happened just north of the Courthouse Road exit on Route 288. Authorities said that a Nissan SUV ran off the left side of the road, hit an embankment and overturned, ejecting the driver from the vehicle. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The intersection is kind of confusing because one light on this side is red, at times,” Lowe said. “Sometimes it’s green. So it’s kind of confusing because of ongoing traffic. So we see accidents several times a month in this intersection. But I’ve called VDOT [Virginia Department of Transportation] twice. I haven’t heard anything back from them, and I just wanted the community to know that someone is concerned about what’s going on at this entrance ramp.”
The light in question is a yellow yield light for turning drivers. Depending on whether there is a green or red light on the opposite side, oncoming traffic may be slowing down and stopping, or driving through the intersection without a reason to brake or yield.
8News reached out to the Virginia Department of Transportation and Chesterfield County for information about studies or potential changes to the intersection to promote safety. A Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson said that, while there are many ongoing studies and projects throughout the Commonwealth, some including Route 288, this intersection with Courthouse Road is not one of them.
Residents who are concerned about a particular road or intersection are urged to call 800-367-7623.