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Floyd intersection

An overpass that would run 1,500 feet down the Avenue of the Saints has been proposed at the at-grade intersection at Floyd. T.J. Houdek, 23, of Charles City, was killed in a crash at the intersection in 2016. 

The parents of a Charles City man who was killed in a motorcycle accident near Floyd in 2016 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Iowa and Iowa Department of Transportation for negligence in the design of an intersection on Avenue of the Saints.

Thomas and Diane Houdek filed the suit Dec. 21, claiming the state and Iowa DOT is responsible for “negligent design and gross negligence if its employees in administering this intersection that caused the death of our son.”

T.J. Houdek, 23, was traveling from Quarry Road and entering Highway 18 northbound on his Harley-Davidson on July 18, 2016, when his motorcycle and a semi collided. Houdek died at the scene, and the semi rolled, injuring the trucker.

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The Houdek family filed the suit after another fatal crash Dec. 19 at the intersection of Highway 18 and Quarry Road near Floyd.

Troy Reams, 40, of Greene, was driving a 2017 Ford Fusion at about 5:30 a.m. eastbound on Highway 18 when it rear ended a semi. Reams was pronounced dead at the scene.

After T.J. Houdek’s death in 2016, local residents started an online petition to the DOT and spoke out at meetings about the intersection. Residents asked for an overpass and a project was approved.

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According to the Iowa DOT, the intersection will be re-designed and will feature an added overpass. However work may not start until 2022 and the project is expected to take several years after that.

“We call again for the immediate reduction of speed and the placement of a warning signs (sic),” the family said in a release.

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The family cited the Highway 330/65 intersection in Jasper County which is similar to the Floyd intersection. In Jasper County, there is an orange sign that reads “Intersection ahead/Multiple fatalities/Use caution.”

The Houdek’s believe the speed on Highway 27 should be reduced to 45 mph or less along with more road surface marks, like paint, altering drivers of the speed limit and preventing drivers from changing lanes.

“No one needs to face a tragedy over this trap and everyone needs to be warned about this dangerous intersection,” the release said.

The Houdek’s attorney, David Skilton, stated that the DOT failed to design an intersection that was “safe and free of design defects.”

Skilton claims the DOT failed to warn the public of the dangers of the intersection and failed to post signs informing drivers of the dangerous intersection.

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“Instead of warning the public, the signage that was present gave a false impression that the intersection was normal and customary, which it was not,” the suit said.  

The suit also called the intersection “a trap for the public.”

The suit further claims that the state knew the intersection was dangerous and did nothing about it.

The state has not responded to the suit. The Houdak's are demanding a jury trial. No court date has been set.

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Contact Courtney at 641-421-0534 or on Twitter @CourtneyFiorini.

 

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