Third accident at 'North Y' injures two

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Emergency responders, vehicle occupants and witnesses endured a steady rain Friday shortly before noon when a three-vehicle accident at the North Y in Spencer blocked the four-way exchange in all directions. Two ladies received minor injuries and were transported to Spencer Hospital. (Photo by Randy M. Cauthron)

Three accidents in five days in construction zone site

For the third time in less than a week, and second in less than a 24-hour period of time, traffic was re-routed at the North Y - where U.S. Highways 18 and 75 come together in north Spencer - when a three-car accident sent two women to the Spencer Hospital with minor injuries Friday morning.

Damaged in the accident Friday morning, a 2001 Crownline boat, which was launched from a trailer and wound up in the center median west of Dyno's Convenience Store, 144 feet away from the trailer's location.

According to the Clay County Sheriff's Office investigation, Elva Eleanor Dau, 92, of Hartley, was traveling northbound in a 2000 Dodge Stratus on Highway 71, and turned in front of a 2006 Chevrolet K1500 pickup truck that was traveling southbound on the highway. Jason Opperman, 30, of Manning, was driving the truck and towing a 2001 Crownline boat on a trailer.

The truck broadsided Daus's Stratus, launching it into the south ditch of the intersection. Opperman's truck spun out of control and collided with a 2000 Buick Century, being operated by Karen Marie Postma, 52, of Paullina, causing the boat to come loose from the trailer and land 144 feet from the where the trailer came to rest.

Both Dau and Postma received minor injuries and were transported to the Spencer Hospital by ambulance.

Damage to the truck, owned by John Henry Opperman, was estimated at $10,000 and the boat was totaled.

Dau's Stratus was also totaled and Postma's Buick sustained an estimated $2,500 in damages.

Dau was cited for failure to yield and Postma was cited for failure to prove security against liability (accident related).

A reported three-vehicle accident, at the same location Thursday evening, as storms moved through Spencer, was investigated by the Iowa State Patrol. No information or report was available on Friday and attempts to reach a representative at the District 6 office in Spencer was unsuccessful prior to press time.

A collision between a large truck and a Buick Park Avenue Monday evening just before 5:30 p.m., at the North Y intersection in Spencer, claimed the life of 63-year-old Leola Vanravenswaay, of Sanborn, and sent an Altoona man to the Spencer Hospital.

The Spencer Chamber of Commerce reported Iowa Department of Transportation officials have visited with local law enforcement to look at ways to diminish the danger "at what has become a very dangerous intersection" according to the release.

Travelers are advised to keep their speed down when operating in the construction zone and be aware of the detours and traffic adjustments that have been put into place. The construction stretches from the northern edge of Spencer to Milford.

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  • 92?

    -- Posted by brian48 on Sat, Jun 16, 2012, at 4:03 AM
  • When are they finally going to do something about this? It is the resposibility of the city and the DOT to ensure safety on this road. Why in the hell are they working on this stretch of road in the busiest time of the year anyway??? WTF???

    -- Posted by Nitz66 on Sat, Jun 16, 2012, at 7:10 AM
  • I think that the speed limit at the Hwy 18 & 71 junction should be reduced and perhaps a set of temporary traffic signals with left turn arrows installed.

    The best ways to avoid these kinds of mishaps is to slow down and pay attention to oncoming and cross traffic...or take a different route.

    -- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Sat, Jun 16, 2012, at 8:05 AM
  • I would love to see a permanent 4 way stop be put in here. This isn't just a dangerous intersection during construction. There are accidents there all the time.

    -- Posted by stafinois on Sat, Jun 16, 2012, at 10:41 AM
  • working? where are they working at. it is closed all the way to milford and all week nothing has been done, as for the speed YES slow it down. as i remember there used to be stoplights years ago at that intersection. what happend to them? something needs to be done NOW before another person gets killed... DO SOMETHING NOW NOT 5 YEARS DONE THE ROAD.....

    -- Posted by moonman on Sat, Jun 16, 2012, at 11:20 AM
  • I suggested to the city when I first found out how the road was going to be constructed they have blinking lights be installed both on 71 and 18.

    A week later I suggested to the IDOT (idiot for short) that blinking lights be installed on both 71 and 18.

    I know i am a pest but called to see why the road is closed and no work being done --- both city and IDOT

    No answers from anyone.

    common sense says you are proactive in regards to a new construction site

    oh yea, we are talking about Spencer and the IDOT.

    Maybe instead of trying to get as many seatbelt violations (Spencer is called the seatbelt capital of the state) these cops could be on watch at the intersection (since we obviously are not going to do anything

    -- Posted by punky42 on Sat, Jun 16, 2012, at 5:12 PM
  • I agree that signal lights even if temporary need to be used now during the construction. Don't let anymore people be injured or killed before doing this.

    I too wonder where they are working...not even a vehicle in sight let alone any heavy equipment working.

    -- Posted by mgu42 on Mon, Jun 18, 2012, at 4:50 AM
  • KCB- Why are the accidents and contruction on 71 the city of Spencer's Fault? Iowa DOT should be held responsible. Their road crews set up the cones and warning signs. I think a Temporary light while contruction is going on is for sure needed and possibly make it permanant. Let's just hope something does get done before anymore lives are lost.

    -- Posted by iowafan11 on Mon, Jun 18, 2012, at 9:39 AM
  • I believe long established, tested procedures are used when setting up detours, warning signs, etc when construction is going. Not to mention it's obvious to see the roads aren't in their normal status.

    So, what's the variable? The people. Obviously, Clay County drivers are the exception to the rule when it comes what works for protecting people driving in construction zones.

    If the deaths, injuries, damage isn't enough to make you slow down and pay attention, what about the fact that traffic fines are usually doubled in construction zones?

    But since everyone seems to blame IDOT and law enforcement, how about continuing to trash the public workers, cut their pay & bennies even more, heap more work on already overloaded workers, treat them like the enemy, etc.? You know, the beatings will continue until morale improves? If it doesn't work at least if you are injured you'll have saved a couple of tax bucks as consolation.

    -- Posted by helped_myself on Mon, Jun 18, 2012, at 10:23 AM
  • To: Helped_myself.... which of the accidents involved a 'Clay-County' Driver?? Harley? Paulina? Sandborn? Manning? Waukee? or Altoona?? So I think that it would be safe to say that the so called long established and tested procedures, may not be effective for this particular intersection, as you can see, the drivers are from all over the state (not locals) and probably haven't heard about the deaths, injuries, or damanges before heading through the North Y.

    -- Posted by Don't-take-it-too-serious on Mon, Jun 18, 2012, at 10:44 AM
  • Ok, to clarify....drivers in Clay County. Better? Happy now?

    Are you telling me this particular construction situation has never before, in the history of Iowa road construction, been encountered before?

    And if this situtaion is so unique, how come drivers don't recognize it as such and pay attention, slow down, etc?

    -- Posted by helped_myself on Mon, Jun 18, 2012, at 12:10 PM
  • Maybe this is a dumb idea but how about drivers put down the phones and PAY ATTENTION. This morning as I approached the intersection (at my usual 40 MPH because I want to be prepared to stop just incase) I saw 2 vehicles and a semi go through the stop sign. Yes go through without stopping. Personal opinion here but I think that accidents could be reduced if people would obey the traffic controll devices. Oh and it would also help if after they STOP they would look BOTH ways before proceeding. I go through this intersection a minimum of 4 times a day and at least half the time someone goes through without stopping. Rush all you want but it won't get you there any faster if you have an accident.

    -- Posted by angel1976 on Mon, Jun 18, 2012, at 12:40 PM
  • helped_myself- It's just as ignorant to blame only the drivers as it is to only blame the IDOT. Both are to blame, I just believe possibly a stop light or a flag crew with a stop sign out there to help the people trying to cross or turn wouldn't hurt along with drivers slowing down and paying more attention.

    -- Posted by iowafan11 on Mon, Jun 18, 2012, at 12:40 PM
  • iowafan11, those are good ideas. Too bad Iowa is too broke (if you believe the lies) to pay for extra stoplights and taxpayers want lazy, greedy union thug public workers (their words not mine) laid off instead of hiring people to work as a flag crew. Gotta save a couple bucks ya know, even at the cost of 2 deaths and 6 accidents in a week. The anti govt voters get what they vote for so this issue is back in the driver's laps.

    BTW, what exactly is the acceptable $ to death/accident ratio for short sighed anti govt voters?

    -- Posted by helped_myself on Tue, Jun 19, 2012, at 11:14 AM
  • This intersection was dangerous long before any construction. I seem to remember four deaths in the last ten years. Maybe more. Maybe its the placement of the signs? The signs are too close to the intersection blocking the view of oncoming traffic?

    -- Posted by brian48 on Thu, Jun 21, 2012, at 3:26 AM
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