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Highway Patrol rolls out new initiative to decrease crashes on Highway 124

Highway Patrol rolls out new...

HALLSVILLE, Mo. - Blake Mallory's grandmother Sally was on her way to Centralia to grab a bite to eat when she was hit head-on by another car on Highway 124. She and Cheryl Kennison, the driver of the other car, were killed instantly.

"It was sort of like, why?" said Mallory. "Out of all the good people, why does this have to happen to someone who has so much left to do?"

Sally Erickson and Cheryl Kennison were two of the four people killed on Highway 124 between Hallsville and Centralia last year. There were at least a dozen other non-fatal crashes on the road in 2016.

"These troopers that are out there enforcing these traffic laws in that area are the same troopers that are investigating these traffic crashes and unfortunately, knocking on family's doors and letting them know a loved one won't be coming home." said Sgt. Scott White with the Highway Patrol. "So they have a vested interest in making a difference."

The Highway Patrol began has begun working with local law enforcement on a new initiative to decrease the number of crashes on Highway 124. The Missouri Department of Transportation also put up signs warning drivers to slow down as well as radar trailers to let drivers know how fast they're driving.

White said they're hoping to stop people from thinking that crashes won't happen to them.

"The reality is that driving is the first privilege we earn in our lives that allows us to kill another person or ourselves without any intent whatsoever" said White. "We want to work on changing that mindset to 'it could happen to me' and we want to remind people to mitigate those risks they take behind the wheel and be as safe as possible."

Law enforcement will be visible on the ground but they're also working with an aircraft to spot anyone who's driving unsafe.

"124 is really congested so that aircraft is really useful in being able to pinpoint some of those violators and get them stopped," said White.

Mallory said he doesn't think signs will be much of a deterrent, but the extra law enforcement presence would be and might prevent what happened to his grandmother from happening to someone else.

"That should give people the sense not to speed and not to switch lanes," he said.


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