After 3 cars end up in canal in 2 separate crashes, Ammon mother is hoping for change

Idaho Falls

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Natalia Hepworth,

AMMON — The intersection of Ammon Road and 49th South has been getting a lot of attention after two back-to-back crashes Friday and Saturday. The cars involved in both wrecks ended up in a nearby canal.

People have been voicing their concerns about these crossroads for quite some time. After the accident on Friday involving her 17-year-old son, Janice Shirley is wanting a speedy solution.

When Shirley saw the state of her son’s car at the corner of 49th South and Ammon Road, she was in shock.

“I was not really sure I was at the right scene because I did not envision his vehicle in the canal,” Shirley says.

The driver of a white Subaru failed to yield at the two-way stop and pulled out in front of Shirley’s son, according to police. Her son, who was driving a white Ford, hit the Subaru with both cars landing into water.

“My son did not have any stop signs,” Shirley says. “As a result of the collision, both vehicles ended up in the canal. I was very thankful that both vehicles ended up right-side up and not upside down.”

Janice Shirley is hoping for changes after her son was involved in a crash Friday morning. | Natalia Hepworth,

Shirley says her son did all he could to swerve out of the way to avoid impact. Regardless of the driver’s actions, neighbors feel this intersection and others in the county are set up to fail.

“There are many intersections in this community that need addressing. Growth is happening out here. Everybody is heading to town. We don’t have enough thoroughfares. Many of these roads are still 50 miles per hour — that needs to be addressed,” Shirley says.

Shirley isn’t the only one who wants to see change. Ryan Hatch launched a petition Saturday, and as of Monday afternoon, it had over 1,900 signatures with a goal of 2,500.

Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham says the city is taking the matter seriously and safety is its main priority.

“I hate anytime you hear about any accident anywhere in this city or frankly in our community. Obviously we want everyone to be safe, so of course my heart goes out to anyone who suffers the inconvenience, the harm, the injury — It’s terrible,” Kirkham says.

Kirkham says the city of Ammon and Bonneville County officials share the responsibility of the roads. They are both working to find a viable and timely solution.

Shirley’s Ford after the crash. | Courtesy Janice Shirley

Bonneville County assistant public works director, Lance Bates, says he’s preparing to do studies at the intersection.

“I am going to start an engineering study and do some traffic counts on this intersection. (We’re) taking a look at it and seeing what the results of those engineering studies are,” Bates says.

Bates says after the study is conducted, it will be turned over to county commissioners.

For now, Shirley says she would like to see some sort of short-term solution for the intersection.

“I would like to see a four-way stop sign put in there or flashing lights. I think four-way stop signs should be at every intersection at 49th. This area is growing by leaps and bounds,” Shirley says. “There’s still going to be accidents, but it is going to slow down people on 49th from Ammon Road.”