Stats tap city’s bad crossings

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2001

No Natchez intersections were part of State Farm Insurance’s recent list of Mississippi’s 10 most dangerous intersections. But that doesn’t mean the city has no dangerous intersections.

Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff said his department responded to 849 accidents last year and 235, or 28 percent, of those crashes were reported at intersections.

Nearly 10 percent of intersection accidents occurred at South Canal Street and John R. Junkin Drive, making it Natchez’s most dangerous crossing, police statistics say.

Huff blamed most of the accidents on driver error or drivers breaking traffic laws.

&uot;I’d have to study each report to determine the exact causes,&uot; he said. &uot;But accidents happen when someone breaks a traffic law. Someone runs a stop sign or a red light.&uot;

Huff said 17 accidents happened at the Canal-John R. Junkin intersection in 2000.

State Farm Insurance Agent Doug Nigreville said he watches what he calls Natchez’s most dangerous intersection from his office on John R. Junkin each day.

He said the intersection of Homochitto Street, John R. Junkin Drive and Lower Woodville Road is one of the most dangerous intersections he’s ever seen. According to figures, police investigated 11 accidents at that intersection, making it Natchez’s fourth most dangerous crossing.

&uot;From my own personal view, it’s one of the most dangerous in the world,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;(Drivers) going south and east take their life in their hands every time they go through it.&uot;

Nigreville said one way to decrease the intersection’s danger is to lower the speed limit.

More than 36,000 cars pass through the city’s second most dangerous intersection each day – Devereaux Drive at Lynda Lee Drive, U.S. 61 and Seargent S. Prentiss (weigh scales).

Nigreville said that intersection seems to regulate itself more than the crossing at John R. Junkin, Homochitto and Lower Woodville Road.

Huff reported 15 accidents at the intersection in 2000.

Morgantown Road at U.S. 61 was Natchez’s third most dangerous intersection in 2000. Huff said 12 accidents occurred there. The intersection of Seargent S. Prentiss and John R. Junkin (hospital) was the fifth most dangerous, collecting eight accidents that year. Seargent S. Prentiss at Highland Boulevard just missed the top five with five accidents, while Franklin Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Street was the site of five accidents, along with U.S. 61 at Col. John Pitchford Parkway. Four accidents occurred at Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Wilson Road, making it Natchez’s ninth most dangerous intersection and the intersection at Melrose-Montebello Parkway at Seargent S. Prentiss Drive was the 10th most dangerous crossing with three accidents reported in 2000.