Teen's fatal crash prompts petition for street lights
OCOEE, Fla. – There's a tiny light shining brightly in the stretch of Roberson Road between Maguire and Windermere roads in Ocoee. It's a memorial of candles lit in honor of 18-year-old Jonathan Riley.
While driving eastbound on Roberson on a rainy night in February, he flew off the road, hitting a utility pole and tree. Jonathan's mother, Nancy Riley, thinks the small stretch is too dark.
"This is the fastest driven road, and it's extremely dark at night, people are walking on the sidewalk, people are just speeding excessively," Riley said.
Riley says just a couple months after her son's death, another driver also hit a tree, in the same spot across the street. It compelled her to speak up.
"I don't ever want to see anybody go through what I've been through," Riley said.
The pain led Riley and friend Fran Cummings to change.org to create a petition asking for streetlights.
"We started the petition and I would say within 24 hours we had over 800 signatures, we have over 1,000 signatures at this point," Cummings said.
The stretch is complicated because it is owned by three jurisdictions, including Ocoee and Orange County. Riley has tried reaching out to each one, she's now hoping they can work together, not only in Jonathan's name, but so that they don't ever have to put up a memorial there for anyone else.
"It's no longer about Jonathan, I've come to grips. It's about what we can do so this can longer happen again."
Riley says each jurisdiction has responded positively to her campaign, but haven't made any definitive decisions on a streetlight yet. There are traffic lights at Maguire Road, and streetlights at the entrance of two neighborhoods about a half mile down, but none in between.
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