Orange County installs guardrail near Avalon Park homes after News 6 investigation

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County engineers constructed a cable guardrail to prevent cars from crashing into homes on Avalon Park Boulevard after a series of News 6 investigations.

Drivers miscalculate the curve at a roundabout and crash into the homes, according to reports.

"It took News 6's involvement to actually get results from Orange County," said resident Carlos Ortiz-Vega.

Ortiz-Vega said that he is thrilled to see the cable barriers in front of his home--because he has seen what happens without them.

Since 2011, there have been at least eight crashes at the curve. One of the most serious was when a car crashed into Ortiz-Vega's dining room.

"I just threw my hands in the air and said, 'you gotta be kidding me', when is this gonna stop?" he said.

Next door to him, three cars have crashed onto Elizabeth and Mika Adams' property; one car just missed their daughter’s bedroom.

"Its not safe," Elizabeth Adams said. “We don’t feel safe.”

When News 6 first told Orange County officials about the problem, officials said it was operator error and drivers should just slow down.

"We believe it's a speed issue coming through the curves," Frank Yokiel, with Orange County Public Works, said.

In a third investigation, News 6 told county officials about 62-year-old Eleanor Ball, a Sarasota woman who was killed in 2014 when a car crashed into her home. 

Vehicles crashed onto Ball's property six times before the fatal crash.

Neighbors said she asked city officials for permission to construct a crash barrier, but it was denied, according to police reports.

"I truly believe she could be alive if she had a barrier behind her house," Deborah Reaves, Ball's friend of 50 years, told News 6.

Orange County engineers went to work on the barrier at the Avalon Park Boulevard curve shortly after hearing the story.

Engineers recently installed steel cable barriers that are cemented into the median.

Since the barriers were installed neighbors said there have been three more crashes, including a car that hit the barrier and flipped over--but did not hit the homes.

"It works," Ortiz-Vega said.

The long-term solution is to redesign the road to take out the curve, county officials said. Construction is scheduled to start in 2018.

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