Is White Owl corner dangerous?

Injured teacher urges changes

A Virden teacher injured in an accident last week is expressing concerns about the intersection where it happened.

Lola Thunderchild, 43, who works at Virden Junior High was hurt and her pick-up badly damaged when it collided with a four-door sedan at the corner of PTH 83 and 257 on April 3.

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RCMP say the 28-year-old driver of the other vehicle initially stopped at the stop sign on 257 before proceeding into the intersection where her vehicle was broadsided by Thunderchild’s truck travelling on 83.

Sgt. Paul Manaigre said the car driver, from the RM of Wallace-Woodworth, has since been charged under the Highway Traffic Act for proceeding before safe to do so.

After the accident, Thunderchild posted on Facebook, “I don’t know how she didn’t see me coming. I had tried to slow down but it was too late.” She wants something done to make that corner safer.

“Maybe reduce the speed approaching the intersection? Traffic lights? I don’t know, but it seems to be a common corner for accidents.

Commenters on social media agreed the intersection is problematic and suggested possible fixes like a roundabout to slow traffic down, an overpass, rumble strips, or replacing the two-way stop with a four-way stop.

Several felt that the intersection further north at PTH 83 and the Trans-Canada Highway was more urgently in need of some form of traffic control device.

In spite of the perception that the White Owl corner is dangerous, Manitoba RCMP records show only two accidents in two years. (They only keep statistics for two years except for serious accidents.)

Sgt. Manaigre said, “In the past two years, we've only had one other collision reported at this location and that was for a rear end collision at the stop sign in 2017. No serious injury or fatal collisions in the past five years.”

What do you think should be done, if anything? Take our online opinion poll on this page. We’ll share the results in next week’s Empire-Advance.

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