ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee ranks as one of the worst states for people getting injured in car crashes. While the focus is usually on interstates and highways, one neighborhood is pleading for action, after three people were seriously hurt in a weekend crash.
“It’s dangerous and we’ve put up with it for way too long,” said Lauri Gardner.
Gardner lives in an Antioch neighborhood and says residents there are facing new challenges when it comes to car crashes. The problem reached its peak after a Sunday night crash sent shockwaves through the area.
“We first thought it was a transformer because it was an explosion,” remembered Gardner. “Everybody came out. Everybody started running. All you could hear were just screams.”
The Nashville Fire Department responded to the intersection of Galette Road and Packard Drive around 4:30 p.m. First responders had to use the Jaws of Life to get two people out of one vehicle. In the other car, a teen was injured. Neighbors have called the crash a breaking point.
“Nobody has to die. This is a neighborhood with children, pets, and families, but when you cannot even leave your driveway without the fear of getting in an accident because the vehicles are going, are driving literally like it’s a highway,” Gardner said.
According to Metro police, dispatch has been called to Packard Drive 34 times this year; however, community leaders claim that doesn’t include the crashes or incidents that go unreported.
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“We have consistently had near misses and close calls, and unfortunately, this past Sunday, it took something like that to bring us to this point. We probably have seen over 150 incidents with just a handful being reported,” said Jeff Sexton, Director of the Fairlane Park Association.
Neighbors in the area are now urging for more traffic calming projects needed down the street. Sexton and Gardner both claim they have tried to submit applications but have been denied. While they understand why, both are pushing for some sort of speeding deterrent to be placed on Packard Drive, pointing to signage and speed bumps used on other streets.
“Racetrack,” Sexton described. “We see side-by-side racing on that street right there, with no shoulder, people walking in this neighborhood, riding in this neighborhood, and having children. It’s a recipe for disaster.”
Metro police revealed the city is on track to outpace last year’s traffic-related deaths. Davidson County ranks number one in the state for injury crashes.
Community members would still like to see some sort of traffic calming program. NDOT selects about 50 streets a year for the projects after applications have been submitted. The next application period will open in early 2023.