Deadly Crash Raises Concern About Dangerous Intersection

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (KPTM)-29-year-old Zachery Shedd of Omaha man died Wednesday. Investigators said he wasn't drinking or speeding, but they think he ran a red light. Several people saw the crash and they tell Fox 42 it's the city's fault.

They said the intersection is dangerous and something needs to change.

Nate Laughlin heard it all, "a really big crash, just boom."

"I called 911 and they said they'd already got two calls. I felt terrible, I put myself in their shoes, I was just like this is not what anybody wants and it's just terrible," Laughlin said.

Police said the driver of this silver Mazda was killed after running the light at 168th and Blondo.

Jeffrey Kauffman was working nearby when the vehicles collided. "I heard a little bit of a noise, I came back out and looked and there was a couple cars all tangled together obviously over in the corner, looked pretty bad."

Investigators said the driver collided with a van in the intersection and the two slammed into the light pole. Police said the driver inside the Mazda was not wearing his seat belt.

"An awful thing to have happen whether the person was texting or driving, whatever may have happened through that intersection obviously it's a great loss," Kauffman said.

But he said it may not have been the driver's fault at all, but the bad layout of what he calls a dangerous intersection. "I just don't like how it goes over that hill, it kind of drops down and if there's a couple cars already backed up at that stop light you don't see them until you pop over the hill, it's too late if you're going the 45 speed limit."

But not too late to save lives, Kauffman says, if the city would do something about it. "I would love for them whether it's adjusting the timing or adding a lane, something."

He said he drives 168th street multiple times during the day, but he said he worries the most at rush hour. Cars traveling over the hill don't realize traffic is stopped at the light, he said he's seen more crashes at this intersection then anywhere else in the city.

And after one more today, it's something he said that he thinks can be prevented, if the city would just make a change.

Police said this is the first crash they've seen in a long time at that intersection.

They said many people just exchange info and drive off.

However they want to remind everyone that by law if there is more than $1000 in damage you must fill out a state accident report or you could lose your license.