Deadly crash draws attention to speeding problem

MADISON (WKOW) --- A teenager is under arrest, accused of driving while intoxicated when he hit and killed a man in Madison Friday night.

Police said 19-year-old Benjamin Cortes was the driver of the car that hit the 72-year-old man and his 68-year-old wife as they walked their dog along S. Midvale Blvd.

Investigators said speed was a factor in the crash. Now, neighbors tell 27 News they want to see something done about the excessive speeding along the busy thoroughfare.

“People use this as an extension of the Beltline,” said John Rohrer, as his walked near the crash scene with his wife Terri.

“You know, it's really scary because it could have been any of us,” Terri Rohrer said.

The couple lives in the neighborhood and said they've seen a number of close calls.

“Many people ignoring the speed limit. Up by the school you see it all the time,” Terri Rohrer said.

“A pedestrian on a bike or just walking may be part way into the intersection. And the cars are just going too fast,” said John Rohrer.

But even after the deadly crash, one neighbor said he doesn't see a problem with speeding along the busy road.

“I occasionally worry about one driver stopping in the driver in the other lane not stopping. So you want to be very aware of that. But I think in general the drivers out here are pretty good,” Rick Gundermann said while he and his wife walked their dog near the crash scene.

The Brothers hopes the city will address the speeding issue so that no other family has to deal with the loss of a loved one.

“Patrolling, setting speed traps, I think would be great. That would be wonderful. The mileage signs that flashes how many miles you're going,” Terri Rohrer said.

“It's so sad. We had trouble sleeping last night. It's just heartbreaking. We can't imagine,” she said.

Neighborhood are also concerned about crossing S. Midvale Blvd. at the Southwest Bike Path. It's about half a block up from the site of the deadly crash. Neighbors says drivers don't pay attention to pedestrians and bikers crossing the busy street. Alder Maurice Cheeks said the city plans to address their safety concerns.

“We have tweaked the crosswalks over by the woods. We are just about to install blinking lights as you cross the Southwest bike path. And we've asked MPD to do traffic enforcement here,” he said.

Cheeks said drivers must respect the speed limit.

Cortes face tentative charges including homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

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