Parkland, Florida: Deadly Roadways

Back in 1992, multiple Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school students had a tragic fatal car crash in the Hillsboro canal off Loxahatchee Road where 5 of them died.

While trying to pass a car in front of them, the teens veered off the roadway and into the canal. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents involving this canal and Loxahatchee road are not uncommon.

  • In 1996, four young co-workers were on their way to Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. A 20-year-old young man was allegedly driving 50 miles an hour when he hit a small hill or bump and launched his Mitsubishi Eclipse into the canal. It was found upside-down in the canal. The three women in his car died in the accident. The driver was hospitalized but survived. The brother of one of the deceased said at the time “They’ve got to do something about this road”.
  • In early 2002, 4 young men, none of whom were a day over 21, died after losing control of their vehicle and crashing into a concrete barrier.
  • On July 27th, 2017, another fatal car crash occurred in Parkland on Loxahatchee Road between a pickup and a roofing truck. Although this appears to be a head-on collision, the roofing truck hit and broke the guardrail, and fell onto the flat grass beside the road. Had this occurred on the side of the road close to the canal, the truck may have fallen right into the canal. If the road was less narrow, and the guardrail was stronger and taller, accidents like these would be less likely to occur, and when they do occur, they would be less fatal. The man in the pickup truck was killed while the other three people involved survived but were in serious condition and transported to the hospital.
  • On February 21st of this year a dump truck driver, while trying to dump a load of dirt for a construction project along the edge of the canal, lost control and crashed into the canal. EMS received reports of a vehicle in the water. When emergency services arrived on the scene, they did not initially find his body in the truck. It took a team of divers to find his body in the deep and murky canal. It is estimated that he was underwater for an hour.

In the past 10 years, well over a dozen lives have been lost in vehicular accidents on Loxahatchee Road. Something is finally being done to improve the safety of this roadway. Before we became aware that some changes were being made, we were writing this article suggesting:

  • adding a higher and stronger guard rail
  • widening the road
  • lowering the speed limit
  • adding an occasional speed bump
  • adding more adequate lighting
  • assigning more patrols in the area
  • placing a sign showing a vehicle's speed as it approaches

The road has no stoplights, stop signs, and little if any police presence. The Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge at the end of the road is a popular destination for young and reckless drivers. Drivers need to be prudent and careful.

The situation is difficult because although the road is dangerous, there is no immediate and cheap solution to the issue. But how many lives would have been saved if Broward County, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the City of Parkland had installed a safer, stronger, and higher guardrail?

After starting our research, we see that the City of Parkland has recognized this dangerous condition and they are taking steps to remedy the issue with the help of the Florida Department of Transportation, Broward County, and the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization. According to the Parkland Project Timeline on the City of Parkland’s website, construction is expected to begin in January 2023 and end in 2025.

Many of the improvements listed above are included in the proposed construction. “Travel lanes will be widened, there will be bike lanes in both directions, a sidewalk along the south side of the road, and portions of the roadway will have a landscaped median that will provide traffic calming in an aesthetically-pleasing way… A new guardrail will be installed along the north side of the road… Intersection improvements include the addition of an eastbound right turn lane at SR 7 / U.S. 441, the addition of a westbound left turn lane at Parkland Place / Northwest 61st Way, and three roundabouts: Parkside Drive, University Drive, and Nob Hill Road.”

We hope that the improvements turn out to make this a substantially safer roadway with fewer accidents for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. In particular, we hope that the new guardrail will be higher and stronger to prevent more vehicles from unnecessarily ending up in the canal or in head-on crashes.

The Law Offices of Cytryn & Velazquez represents seriously injured victims due to the negligence of others. Contact us today for a free consultation at (954) 833-1440.

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