Latest deadly crash on Natural Bridge renews safety concerns

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ST. LOUIS – Residents living near Natural Bridge and Fair avenues have long insisted more needs to be done to stop dangerous driving.

The latest tragedy came Thursday when police said the driver of a convertible ran several stop signs and crashed into an SUV, killing the SUV driver. Police said the driver of the convertible ran away and was eventually taken into custody.

Bob Williams was a block away when he heard the crash and ran to see what happened. Police said the driver of the convertible left behind several injured passengers, including an infant.

“The baby was just crying,” Williams said.

Fox 2/KPLR 11 has reported before on the effort to make Natural Bridge safer.

Alderman John Collins-Muhammad has led an effort to bring city and state officials together to conduct the first-ever Road Safety Audit on Natural Bridge. He said a comprehensive partnership with local elected officials, MoDOT, and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, has led to more than a 50 percent decrease in fatalities since the Road Safety Campaign was launched.

Many residents said they see police pulling over speeders but do not feel it’s reduced the amount of speeding.

“It happens all the time,” said north St. Louis resident Tracy Ott. “We don’t want more people killed.”

Ouida Hicks operates a beauty salon on the corner of Fair and Natural Bridge. She’s already had one car crash into her business and said Thursday’s crash happened where some of her customers have stood as they enter her store. She hopes the city will take even more steps to minimize traffic dangers.

Maple Harden, a mother of several young children, said she’s afraid to let them stand in front of her house on Natural Bridge.

“It’s terrifying knowing that any car can run up on them at any time of the day just out of nowhere,” she said. “It’s always the innocent bystanders who are the ones getting hurt and then it’s always the troublemakers getting away from it.”

Police have yet to release the identity of the victim killed in the SUV. The driver of the convertible was taken into custody but no word from authorities on if he’s been charged with a crime as of Thursday evening.

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