Del Tura residents distressed by fatal crash
A traffic crash that killed two nuns while injuring another as Del Tura residents distressed. Some would like the traffic signal outside their community checked.
“That light should be changed, no question. If you hit the light a little late you won’t get the left turn signal – just a green light. It’s a big problem,” said Rick Maunel, who lives and works for Del Tura.
He said he recalled woman being killed there a little over two years ago and a motorcyclist killed there about three years ago.
He said members of his community were very upset by the tragedy.
Loius Congemi, another Del Tura resident, said he also believes the light is very dangerous, not only going north or south on U.S. 41, but crossing it to enter Del Tura at Gran Via.
“People come from the church and shopping center across the street and feel they have the right-of-way, with no left turn light there all of the time.”
Another area man said he wasn’t aware of any problems.
“My parents have lived here (Del Tura) for three years and this is the first I’ve ever heard of an accident or problem there,” said John Haughty.
Transportation officials say the intersection does not have what is considered a high occurrence of crashes.
“In 2006 there were nine crashes at that intersection and two were fatal,” said Steve Jansen, senior traffic engineer for Lee County DOT. “In 2007 there were six crashes, no fatalities. In 2008, there were three crashes with no fatalities and in the first six months of 2009 there has been six reported crashes with no fatalities in that period.
“That’s actually a very low number of crashes as compared to other signalized intersections,” Jansen said.
The two nuns were killed and a third injured Sunday after an SUV turned into the path of their car at the corner of U.S. 41 and Gran Via Drive in North Fort Myers, officials said Monday.
The crash, which occurred at 3:33 p.m., also injured the driver of the SUV.
The driver of the car, Sister Elizabeth Meegan, 67, of Cape Coral, was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital where she was listed in serious condition Sunday night. The driver of the SUV, Michael Hickman, 60, of North Fort Myers, also was taken to Lee Memorial.
Florida Highway Patrol had not released the names of the two nuns who were passengers in Meegan’s vehicle, MOnday pending notification of family. One of the women was 80, the other was 84.
According to the crash report prepared by Florida Highway Patrol, Hickman, who was driving a 1999 Chevy Tahoe, was traveling north on U.S. 41 in the left turn lane and and turned left to travel west on Gran Via when he entered directly into the path of the 2007 Toyota Prius carrying the nuns. The force of the collision caused both vehicles to spin with the SUV coming to rest across the eastbound lanes of Gran Via facing north. The Prius came to rest in the intersection facing west.
Gran Via is the street that leads into the entryway of North Fort Myers Del Tura community.
No charges were listed on the crash report.
The investigation into the double fatality is continuing, said Lt. Chris Miller, spokesman for the Highway Patrol.