‘This is the Wild West’: Parrish residents beg for traffic light at deadly intersection

Hillsborough County

PARRISH, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents say enough is enough.

Their hearts have been broken too many times and it all boils down to one dangerous intersection that they call, “the Wild West,” at U.S. 301 and County Road 765 in Manatee County

On Tuesday night, families from Parrish took time to remember two lives lost in this area of the county in less than a year. Parrish Civic Association president Gretchen Fowler told us she’s hoping the Florida Department of Transportation is listening.

“We’ve been asking for a light, pay attention to us out here,” she told WFLA. “We really haven’t gotten anywhere. And, unfortunately, we’ve had two tragedies in the last year.”

One of the lives lost was a local veterinary student. The other was a doctor.  

Their lives were honored during a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night. Families, friends and neighbors came together to say prayers for those who travel this route daily.

“We want to honor them and let them know that we’ve been trying to get a stop light,” said Gretchen. “We were hoping nothing like this would ever happen.”

Local veterinarian Dr. Terry Clekis was visibly upset as he gathered with his staff to honor the life of one of the victims who worked alongside them daily.

“It’s senseless,” he said.

“I go home every day on this intersection and it’s dangerous. it doesn’t have to be. I don’t know why the authorities are dragging their feet, and putting a light there can make it safer for the population around us,” Dr. Clekis added.

The Civic Association says it has been asking FDOT for a fully-functioning stoplight at this intersection for nearly a decade.

They’ll keep trying.

“We won’t give up. We want those who have lost their lives that we haven’t stopped trying,” said Gretchen.

“We need help. We’re getting new houses in this area, one of the biggest schools in Manatee County. There’s lots of growth. The traffic will continue. We need a stop light.”

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