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8 On Your Side investigates 49th Street intersection complaints

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Ashleigh Futchko is convinced there is a problem with the lights at the intersection of 49th Street North and 118th Avenue in Pinellas Park.

On Black Friday, 2020, it was at that intersection she crashed into another car. She and the other driver both claimed they had the green light.

“That was of course my first reaction. You know, when I got out of the car,” said Futchko. “I kind of kept saying my light was green, my light was green. What happened?”

Lee Wagner was the other driver.

“I was proceeding through a green light you know just staying with traffic,” said Wagner. “Next thing I know this car just pulls right out in front of me and both of us were just paralyzed. Then, impact and airbags.”

Futchko’s husband rushed to the scene.

“He spoke with the officer at the scene,” said Futchko. “Who told him that witnesses on both sides had said that both of our lights were green. “

Officers investigating did not cite either driver for running a red light.

Both drivers went to the hospital and survived their injuries. Futchko contacted 8 On Your Side asking for us to investigate issues with that intersection.

According to a report from the Pinellas Park Police Department, there have been 12 accidents at that intersection since September 2020 and countless other calls for service.

The intersection is in the midst of construction for the Gateway Project, and Pinellas Park Police Sergeant John Shea believes that may be leading to confusion and distraction for drivers.

“The surroundings can change at any minute,” said Sgt. Shea. “There are going to be lane closures, lane shifts, there could be ultimately traffic stoppage due to construction vehicles for whatever reason. “

8 On Your Side contacted the county regarding the accident and light timing at that intersection. A county representative in the traffic department said the lights have been checked out and are functioning properly. Futchko isn’t convinced.

“This could have resulted in a much worse situation for both of us,” said Futchko. “So my concern is someone else may not get so lucky. “

Meanwhile, Wagner plans to avoid that intersection altogether.

“I haven’t driven since the accident,” said Wagner. “And I’m reluctant to because it shook me up pretty hard.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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