News

Actions

County to consider safety changes on busy Plant City Road following deadly crash

Neighbors concerned after weekend fatal accident
Posted at 4:35 PM, Jul 25, 2016
This weekend's deadly accident just outside Plant City is now leading to calls for safety changes along a busy Tampa Bay area road.
 
"Something's going to have to be done to slow these people down," said Dona Suggs of Plant City.
 
Cooper Road is a main cut through between Thonotosassa and Knights Griffin Roads.  It's not a long stretch, but people fly through it.  In the recent fatal accident, there wasn't even a skid mark before the teenager's SUV slammed into a tree.
 
"45 is fast enough. I don't think you have to drive 65 or 70.  45 is fine.  You can get there safely," Suggs said. 
 
Suggs lives steps away from where a crash killed 17-year-old Cordasha Hutchinson and critically injured her boyfriend, 17-year-old Dylan Pulaski Saturday night.
 
"I don't understand how this was part of the plan for her to be gone like this," said Cordasha's friend, Karis Lott. 
 
Deputies say Pulaski was driving too fast.  Donna Suggs is heartbroken, but not surprised.
 
"It's devastating and makes me afraid of even letting my grandkids out to play," Suggs said.
 
Standing in her driveway, you can watch car after car race by.  Steven Norris, age 9, lives next door.  His family doesn't let him ride his bike anywhere near the road. 
 
"I wish they could just slow down," said Norris.
 
Neighbors say Saturday's fatal crash was the second accident that day on Cooper Road.  In fact, there's an average of two serious crashes here every year.  Saturday's is the first fatality neighbors can recall, and they hope it will push the county to consider safety upgrades. 
 
"The only thing I can think that would slow people down is speed bumps or some sort of speed trap," said Suggs.
 
As Karis Lott pays respect to the friend she lost, she hopes her friends everywhere will slow down behind the wheel. 
 
"We're at that age where we all want to look cool and have that image, but I think this is a prime example that once it's done, it's done.  Everything's final," Lott said.
 
Since Cooper Rd. is considered an arterial road, the county's traffic division says speed bumps are not an option.  But because of the concerns raised, they're going to send a team out in the next few weeks to see if additional signs or something else might help slow people down to the posted speed limit. 
 
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is also asking the traffic squad for renewed speed enforcement on Cooper Road.