Polk County — The intersection where a day care bus rear-ended a van Wednesday is notorious for rear-end crashes, and now neighbors are worried that someone will be killed. It’s the spot in Polk Co. just east of Saylorville Lake where NW 35th St. intersects with NW 80th Lane.
On Wednesday afternoon, a woman driving approximately 20 children in a bus for Tender Years Day Care was cited for “Failure to Stop in a Safe and Clear Distance.” The bus slammed into the back of a van whose driver was waiting to make a left-hand turn. Both drivers and three children are expected to make full recoveries. The remaining children were taken to the Ankeny Fire Station, where they were reunited with their parents.
On Thursday, we met a woman who was rear-ended in the same spot, trying to make the same left-hand turn one month ago. Kara Thompson and her neighbors must turn left at that intersection in order to enter their housing development from the South. Thompson and her neighbor, Penny Hughes, said that there have been dozens of close calls over the years. Thompson said, “I was hit from the back. I think the driver was going maybe 45, 50 (mph). He didn’t see me at all.”
The problem stems from the lack of a turn lane coupled with the curve that drivers must negotiate prior to stopping for cars waiting to turn. Regarding Wednesday’s crash, Thompson said, “I felt horrible for the children and for the driver and for anybody involved, but I thought, ‘Gosh, I wish it didn’t have to come to this.’”
At Channel 13’s request, Polk Co. sheriff’s deputies said that they will examine the last two years worth of crash data at that intersection. Capt. Joe Simon said that deputies may share their findings with the Iowa Department of Transportation with the hopes of possible safety improvements.