May 2, 2018 11:45:14 AM
An open letter to Governor Bryant concerning a West Point intersection
I am writing you to voice an extreme concern that has bothered me for a long time. I have lived in Clay County since 1946. I have practiced medicine in West Point since 1981. On April 23, at approximately 5 p.m., my son, Dr. Phillip Aron Hooker, Jr., and my daughter, Shelley Grace Hooker-Hemphill, were involved in a severe automobile accident at the intersection of Highway 45 Alternate South and Tibbee Road in Clay County. My son's automobile was totaled. After numerous X-rays in the Columbus hospital, we learned that my daughter had no broken bones or internal injuries. The lady driver of the other car, I believe, also escaped without serious injury. We are blessed with the outcome, but this could have easily resulted in three fatalities.
This intersection is well-known to the local inhabitants to be seriously dangerous, resulting in frequent major accidents. I consider it to be one of the poorest designs and most dangerous intersections in Mississippi, if not in the United States. My daughter lives in the area and has noted frequent accidents. Only a few weeks ago, she observed a car burning that had been involved in an accident at this intersection. The young highway patrolman who investigated this accident told me that they were unable to patrol the area as needed because of the shortage of man power. I advised him that drivers speed through the intersection at 80 mph. He told me that the drivers he tickets frequently have speeds of 90 mph. It has been extremely difficult for me to navigate that intersection because of the speeding and design of the intersection. For years, there were road signs designating a reduction in speed to 45 mph. But even with those signs, I constantly observed drivers going through the intersection at over 70 mph. For some reason, the 45 mph signs were removed last year. I believe this is one of the reasons the young highway patrolman clocks drivers now at 90 mph.
I urge you to consider my letter seriously and immediately correct the problem. The young highway patrolman informed me that when he gets a call about an accident in Clay County, it almost always involves Highway 45 Alternate South and Tibbee Road.
Please do not wait until someone in your family or my family dies as a result of our neglect.
Phillip A. Hooker Sr.
M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Clinical Professor emeritus
University of Mississippi Medical School
Medical Director West Point Genetic Clinic
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