Ames Police, City Working to Make Dangerous Intersections Safer

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AMES, Iowa -- It’s been three weeks since Iowa State University student Emmalee Jacobs was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing Lincoln Way, just before holiday break.

Ames police say they have fielded nearly 60 tips in the case, which have all been dead ends.

Investigators hope new leads will pile in once classes resume at Iowa State next week.

Now, the Ames Police Department and the city are working to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

“We tried to make improvements to that intersection at Lincoln Way and Ash [Avenue] and make that as safe as possible, but we will have to analyze the situation,” said John Joiner, Ames Public Works Director.

Almost a month after Jacobs’ death, Ames police and city officials are left with little information.

“It makes it difficult when we don’t have an eyewitness. We don’t have a vehicle description,” Ames Police Cmdr. Jason Tuttle said.

Tuttle said numerous leads have gone nowhere.

“I would say well over 50 and 60 tips have come in, but most have been insignificant,” he said.

But they aren`t without a plan for future safety.

“It’s more about awareness and education, and in the end we aren’t responsible behavior from everyone involved so that’ll be our goal. We will hand out fliers and just talk about safety, our main concern,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle said the program has been the works for a while but implementation was sped up after Jacobs’ death.

“We have more and more students constantly crossing those intersections. We thought this was a great time as students come back to remind them that we want pedestrians to be safe, bicyclists to be safe and drivers to be responsible,” Tuttle said.

The city of Ames plans to work with the university on a safety study at the intersection.

“We’ll likely do a pedestrian count, traffic counts, potentially a speed study but the elements haven`t been defined yet,” Joiner said.  “There might be some improvements we can still make at that intersection.”

The intersection is equipped with audio and visual cues for drivers and pedestrians, but city engineers say even the slightest piece of information from the study can prove valuable going forward.

“It’s something we take very seriously -- the safety of our pedestrians and Iowa State students, as well as how they use that intersection in the corridor,” Joiner said.

In December 2006, Iowa State student Kelly Lagherty was killed in a hit-and-run on campus. It took police until February before they were able to arrest the driver at fault.

If you have any information that could help authorities find the person responsible for hitting and killing Jacobs, you are asked to call the Story County Crime Stoppers at 515-382-7577.

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