Parents, Students Ask for Traffic Changes at West Hills High After Fatal Crash

Proposed traffic modifications will be a topic at a Santee City Council meeting

Parents, students and community leaders are urging Santee city leaders to put in a stop sign, a stop light or at the very least a "right turn only" sign at a West Hills High School intersection -- the site of a deadly crash.

Student Ryan Willweber, 17, died when his car was T-boned as he tried to turn left out of the campus and onto Mast Boulevard. His brother Cory, another student, was seriously injured in the crash.

On Tuesday, students told NBC 7 they think something should be done about the intersection, which they say is dangerous.

"I think it's a mixture of it both being fast traffic, and then you have everybody leaving all at the same time from three different parking lots," said senior Chris Drogan.

Mayor Randy Voepel, who asked for an additional city traffic study following an NBC 7 report about prior accidents in the area, said he wants to hear from the public on this issue.

"Right now, we are in the 'listening and learning' phase of the decision making process," Voepel said. "There are three wheels turning on this right now: our city traffic engineers' examination of the best approach, the sheriff's traffic investigation and what does the public want."

Parent Joanne Huber said she hopes the city will put a traffic signal or stop sign in front of the high school. She said she complained frequently to the city about the area when her son was a West Hills High School student.

"The city traffic engineers have been aware of the traffic concerns at West Hills HS for at least the last eight years," Huber wrote in an email to NBC 7. "Unfortunately, nothing has happened to correct the intersection traffic hazard since then."

Robin Ballarin, the principal of West Hills High, gave her support to a possible change, as long as it makes sense for the school. She said the left-hand turn in and out of the campus can be "quite harrowing." 

"The district is corresponding with the city of Santee on what a traffic solution would be," she told NBC 7. "I support a right-hand turn sign as long as I understand what the impact on traffic and safety would be -- that it would be a positive step."

Voepel said the public has a chance to weigh in on this topic Wednesday night at Santee City Hall on 10601 North Magnolia Avenue at 7 p.m.

Meantime, one student said she's noticed that drivers on Mast Boulevard have finally slowed down.

"It's sad to see that someone has to ... die for people to realize that they need to use caution as they drive," said Chelsea, a junior at West Hills High School.

Contact Us