Posted by: project151 | August 31, 2008

Remembering Laura, Elschen and Iliana

State Memorial Marker At 151 & 635

State Memorial Marker At 151 & 635

It was exactly one year ago this weekend, when Laura Cavedo and her two daughters, Elschen and Iliana were waiting to turn left from Route 151 onto Route 635 (Greenfield Road) in Nelson County, Virginia. The three had just returned from taking a few things to their new home in Crozet when a delivery truck rear ended their car shoving it into oncoming northbound traffic on 151. Both little girls were instantly killed at the scene, Laura was flown out and died just a short time later. Just like that three lives, gone. About a week later a memorial service was held at Shannon Farm to remember the three.

The man driving the truck, Shawn Andrew Lloyd, later plead guilty to reckless driving and served 90 days in jail for the triple fatality.

The August 30, 2007 accident was one several that killed 5 people in just 33 days on Route 151 and nearby connecting Route 6 between I-64 and Route 29. (Archives, here And here. The fatal accidents spurred the development of this website and the creation of Project 151.org.

From that a separate group organized by VDOT was formed to look into ways of improving safety on Routes 151 & 6. After the 2-3 meetings in 2007, a new slower 45 MPH speed zone was established on 151 from roughly Route 6E north to Bland Wade Road. Additionally, increased enforcement signs and stepped up law enforcement were part of an operation to reduce the fatal accidents. A recent proposal by the local BOS looks to expand the 45 MPH zone all the way to Nellysford. The earlier changes have shown positive results, fatal accidents so far eliminated, and serious accidents reduced. A temporary increase in law enforcement within Nelson County, VA helped keep drivers in check. Today, Albermarle County Police continue strict enforcement on their end of Route 151 where it intersects with Route 250. Occasional stepped up enforcement stints still continue on 151 within Nelson by the Virginia State Police and The Nelson County Sheriff’s Department.

VDOT promised a rework of the fatal 151 / 635 intersection to add a left turning lane southbound to make it safer for cars waiting to turn from 151 to Greenfield Road. The following e-mail, along with the reply, was recently sent to VDOT asking for a status and on the intersection:

From: Project 151 & 6 [mailto:project151org@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 3:55 PM
To: Wright, Kevin B.
Subject: Update on 635 & 151

Hi Kevin,

Hope all is well.

I need to verify that 635 and 151 intersection is still on the list for upgrade. I know many of the others were pushed back, but my understanding is this one is still there.

If so can you give me a time line on it.

Thanks so much.

Best,
Tommy

Tommy Stafford
http://www.Project151.org

From: “Wright, Kevin B.”
Date: August 7, 2008 7:52:20 AM EDT
To: “Project 151 & 6”
Subject: RE: Update on 635 & 151

Tommy,

Hope everything’s going well, seems like things are pretty quiet at least for now.

The 635 and 151 intersection has been approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and the project has received funding. Since it has been funded, I’m trying to find out some more detailed information from our traffic safety folks who manage both this project and the centerline rumble strips. So far, I’m not having any luck, but I’ll have something soon.

I’ll be back in touch soon,
Kevin
Are you Virginia’s next traffic fatality?
Take Virginia’s Highway Safety Challenge
http://www.safeVAhighways.org

As Kevin mentioned in the reply,, the intersection has been approved and work should eventually begin. Another positive move on Route 151. It is our understanding that other intersections along Route 151 have been pushed back several years for any modifications or improvements due to a lack of funding, but 635 & 151 was not part of that delay.

Much has been done in the past 12 months, really it’s monumental in terms of government action. Generally speaking, what would have taken years took place in less than a year. It is perfect, no, improved, you bet.

But, much remains to make 151 a much safer corridor between I-64 and 29. It continues to have hundreds and hundreds of large semi trucks a day using the route as a cut through. Though only a fraction of the fatal accidents can be documented to involved the semi trucks, their dangerous driving along Route 151 and 6 goes virtually unchecked by VSP and Nelson Sheriff’s officials on the Nelson stretch of the road. After midnight many truckers routinely run in excess of 60 MPH right through the posted 45 MPH zones knowing no one is there to enforce it. Again, for whatever reason, Albemarle County Police continually enforce their end of 151 almost weekly. Though Nelson officials and VDOT say there is nothing they can do to reduce truck traffic on 151, the fact remains today that the local BOS has NEVER made a request to VDOT to even explore the reduction of trucks. As P-151 has stated time and time again, we are not opposed to the trucking industry, but do believe that 151 was never designed to handle to type of long haul truck traffic it sees today, which impedes the normal ebb and flow of passenger cars traffic along the scenic highway. It’s the exact reason four lane divided highways and interstates were designed. As reported here on this web page numerous time lately, neighboring North Carolina officials have taken steps to reduce the number of large rigs on small outdated two lane highways like 151. Again for clarity’s sake, P-151 only wants large “cut through” rigs removed from 151 & 6, not those making local deliveries, or those involved in local commerce. The argument will most assuredly be made, as it always is, that large semi trucks have not been responsible for the fatal accidents here on 151. Granted. However, it continues to be a consistent problem on the road here in Nelson County, Virginia that no governmental body or regulatory agency wants to touch. The only BOS member to speak in favor of a move to reduce cut through semi traffic has been Connie Brennan. All others either oppose exploring the idea or remain silent.

No, Laura, Elschen and Iliana were not killed by a large semi truck, just a smaller delivery truck with different gross vehicle weight (GVW) standards than a semi truck. A matter of pounds and length, but who’s counting a few feet or pounds.

P-151

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