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SPECIAL REPORT: The road to safer highways

IMPERIAL, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The Imperial Valley has had its fair share of deadly car crashes both on highways and popular roadways.

Police say these are some of the most dangerous roads across the Imperial Valley, and a ride-along with the California Highway Patrol in El Centro shows us how drivers can make these roads even more dangerous.

A car crash can happen anywhere at any time, but there are certain conditions that make some roadways more hazardous than others.

Officer Arturo Platero with the California Highway Patrol remembers the tragic car crash that claimed the life of a young deputy last June.

"The deputy was coming west here on Aten road, and there was a truck and trailer traveling south on Forrester," he said.

Imperial County Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Redondo was only 25-years-old.

"On these two you know way highways or county roads, you just never know what the other person is doing in their vehicle, they could be distracted with anything," he said.

David Aguirre, the interim Executive Director at the Imperial County Transportation Commission says they are doing all they can to help improve road conditions across the Imperial Valley.

"We have worked with member agencies on potentially adding stop signs, or potentially adding signalizations on certain areas, or potentially conducting roadway improvements should it be required," he said.

CHP says the bottom line, distractions cost lives.

Our ride along took us to one of California's most DANGEROUS highways, Interstate 8.

All it took was two minutes before we were part of a pursuit. Officers confirm the driver was going 95 miles per hour.

"Just lost track, he wasn’t paying attention," Platero said to us after pulling him over.

From 2010 to 2016, Interstate 8 saw 134 fatal crashes resulting in 145 deaths in California. 

But in just two years from 2017 to 2019, there were 83 fatal crashes, more than half of what we saw in six years.

"Know where you have to go ahead of time so you are not at the last minute on the freeway having to make a last-minute turn to hit the offramp," Platero said.

Now more than ever it seems that there is a push across the valley to improve road conditions but law enforcement urging drivers to play their part to drive safe and help save lives they don’t want you being a reason a dad, mom, or kid doesn’t make it home as a result of distracted driving.

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Wiley Jawhary

Wiley Jawhary is from Orange County California. He joined KYMA/KSWT in April of 2021.

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