Troy Police Department says ‘Good Samaritan’ wrecks common

Published 3:00 am Friday, March 3, 2017

Sometimes, being a good Samaritan can get people seriously injured, according to the Troy Police Department.

Officials at the department highlighted the danger of “good Samaritan” wrecks at several junctions in Troy.

“What happens is good Samaritans will stop to try to let cars across and the people shoot across and get hit by someone they can’t see,” said Danny Barron, captain of patrol.

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Barron highlighted several areas where the department sees these situations routinely. One place that Barron said immediately comes to mind is the intersection of George Wallace Drive and Corman Avenue.

“I watched a truck almost get his there just the other day,” Barron said. “Some people trying to be good Samaritans stopped to let him out and he just shot straight across headed for Troy Plaza Loop and never checked up. He almost got T-boned. I honestly don’t know how he didn’t”

Police Chief Randall Barr said that officers at the department refer to these as “good Samaritan wrecks” where people try to help a driver by creating a gap in traffic, but don’t realize someone is coming in one of the other lanes. This leads to a potentially dangerous situation, Barr said.

In addition to the intersection of Corman And George Wallace, Barron said the problem exists at the intersection of the service road next to CVS Pharmacy and Three Notch Street and at the turn onto Troy Plaza Loop next to Lee’s China Buffet off of U.S. Highway 231.

Barron said the problem at the latter intersection is because people enter the turn lane to early.

“The turning lane there is a little bit farther than most and people are riding in that,” Barron said.

Barron said that the good Samaritan scenario plays out there when traffic is stopped at the light for the intersection with George Wallace and the drivers in the two straight lanes leave a gap for someone waiting to turn onto Troy Plaza Loop.

Barron said that the responsibility doesn’t fall on those people trying to let the vehicle cut through though.

“People just take they’re word for it that it’s clear,” Barron said. “People still have the responsibility to make sure its clear.

In addition to these spots, Barron said the section of U.S. Highway 231 between the Elba Highway intersection and George Wallace intersection is where the bulk of accidents in the city are due to the high traffic volume and people driving in the center lane.

Barron advised that if any area is overwhelmed with traffic to go with the flow of traffic instead of cutting across, or planning beforehand to take a different route during times when certain stretches are known to be busy.

The bottom line, Barron said, is that drivers just need to pay careful attention and avoid being distracted.

“Most accidents occur because they’re usually not paying attention or following the rules of the road.,” Barron said. “I know it’s hard not to see a text come in and respond to it, but so many crashes are caused by distracted drivers.”