While city leaders say only one previous crash has happened where a high school student died, data obtained by NBC 7 Investigates reveals that at least five crashes have taken place in the area -- two with injuries.
On Thursday afternoon, student Ryan Willweber, 17, and his brother Cory were involved in a deadly crash as they tried turning onto Mast Boulevard on their way out of West Hills High School.
Santee Mayor Randy Voepel held a press conference Friday to extend his condolences to family and friends of a student who was killed in a crash Thursday. At that time, he also stressed that the stretch of road and intersection where the young man died is “safe.”
“At this intersection over the last 10 years, we’ve had one minor accident – a left-hand turn by a student going into the high school,” Santee Mayor Randy Voepel said at a media briefing Friday in front of campus.
NBC7 Investigates dug into California Highway Patrol’s SWITRS data of traffic accidents.
In the past 10 years, we found there were at least five accidents near the intersection of Mast and West Hills High. Two of those were injury accidents, resulting in a total of four people hurt.
We also reviewed data for the stretch of Mast Boulevard a mile east, and for the shorter stretch in the other direction to the 52 freeway. It shows 76 accidents in that area in the last 10 years, resulting in 60 injured people.
Parents and community members have been pushing for a traffic light to be added to this intersection. Voepel said he is not convinced.
“The reason not to have a light is there traditionally have been no accidents here,” Voepel said. “If we put a traffic light or a stop sign at every intersection in town, it is a conflict between the use of the right of way and safety. It’s a constant trade-off.”
NBC 7 Investigates, in partnership with Esri, produced this interactive map of that data. If you click on the right triangles in the upper right corner of the pop-up, you can click through the different accidents that have occurred in the area. If you cannot see the map below on your mobile device, click here.
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