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Mom's plea: Make this Troy intersection safe

Tiffany Walrack has taken on the task of trying to make the intersection of Tower Road and Old Hwy. 35 safer. Her family was involved in a serious accident in 2010 and drivers continue to run stop signs at the intersection.

Tiffany Walrack of Hudson has taken on the mission of improving the safety of one particular intersection in the town of Troy.

“On October 2, 2010, our family was nearly killed at the intersection of Old Hwy. 35 and Tower Road,” Walrack said. “The other driver was speeding and ran the stop sign. He T-boned our minivan at, what we were told, 57 mph.

“At the time our three (the family now has four) children were 23 months, 23 months (twins) and 3 years old. The moments immediately after the impact were darkest and most terrifying moments of my life.”

The same intersection was the scene of a fatal accident on Oct. 19, 2013, that took the life of a former River Falls man, Scott W. Shoemaker, and one of his teenage children.

Two other children were injured in the accident. The Mazda sedan that Shoemaker was driving on Tower Road failed to stop and was struck broadside by a minivan on Old Hwy. 35.

“Being lucky enough to be a survivor of this, I feel compelled to pursue public awareness of this dangerous spot,” Walrack said. “I am compelled by the memories I carry with me, by the beautiful and priceless smiles of my children and out of respect for the two people who died there three years later.”

In some respects, Walrack has an uphill battle.

Despite the serious accidents at the intersection, it is neither a highly traveled road, nor a spot with a high accident rate. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department reports only a handful of accidents in the past few years.

Walrack, however, isn’t looking for anything dramatic.

“Anything would help,” she said. “Rumble strips, extra or bigger stop signs, a four-way stop or a roundabout.”

Since the intersection is technically in the town of Troy, Walrack went to the Troy town Board in November 2013.

This is what she said to the board:

"I am here tonight to request a review of this intersection. I am here to request that additional safety measures be implemented. I request that considerations be taken, not only for the physical aspects of the intersection...clear sight distances, etc., but of usage. How drivers are using it. Drivers on Tower are not randomly running this stop sign, they are habitually running this stop sign."

Interestingly, when this reporter was talking with Walrack at the intersection on a Monday morning, we saw a car run a stop sign. A car traveling west on Tower Road ran the stop sign and made a right turn north onto Old Hwy. 35, forcing a north bound pickup on Old Hwy. 35 to stop (despite having the right of way).

The Troy Board was respectful, but did nothing to really improve the intersection. In the end, the board said it would request extra sheriff patrols to keep an eye on the location.

For the complete story, please see the March 6 print edition of the River Falls Journal.