By Natalie Fultz
COLUMBUS, GA - Two years after a fatal car accident that claimed the life of 18-year-old Natalie Windham on J.R. Allen Parkway, the Georgia Department of Transportation announces it's closing the intersection for safety reasons.
"How many people have to die? How many people have to be hurt? What is their number before they'll actually start doing something about it?" Cindy Reneau, Windham's aunt asks.
"This is one intersection that previously didn't have a high number of accidents, but we asked them to take a look at it. So they put it through their internal planning process," Deputy City Manager David Arrington says.
Days before the announcement, Windham's father, Stan, died, raising much speculation for Windhams Aunt, Cindy Reneau.
"I just pictured my niece tumbling in her car at that intersection. Every time I go through it I see her again in my mind. So when I heard that something was finally going to be done, I thought why now? All I could think of is...'Well the person who was pointing a finger is gone...' And now they've decided to do something," Reneau says.
According to Reneau, Stan Windham, fought repeatedly to have the city reevaluate the intersection, but to no avail.
"My brother-in-law hired somebody from Atlanta to come down and check out that area and see if in fact something needed to be done. He was told as long as it was up to code when it was constructed, there was nothing they could do," Reneau says.
But deputy city manager, David Arrington, denies any correlation between the death of Windham's father and the announcement from the GDot.
"Absolutely not, our meeting with the GGot has been ongoing for over two years, and we had a meeting last month. Then we received the correspondence from them two weeks ago advising us of their approach and the time frame of trying to have it completed by thanksgiving holiday," Arrington says.
"To say that they've been working on it for two years, I haven't seen it," Reneau says.
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