Orange County leaders consider safety improvements after teen hit, killed while riding bike

Domonique Smith, 15, was killed on Feb. 18

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County leaders are brainstorming ideas for addressing traffic concerns after a 15-year-old boy was killed while riding his bicycle near the intersection of Town Center and Mallard Cove boulevards.

“There aren’t enough words to express the sorrow, but there are enough ideas to try to figure out how to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Commissioner Nicole Wilson.

Wilson represents District 1 in Orange County. She is pursuing safety improvements after hearing from Cherry Smith the mother of Domonique Smith, the 15-year-old who was killed.

“It has to be a change, they need to do something about that section, that intersection,” Smith said.

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The Freedom High School student was riding his bicycle in a clearly marked crosswalk at the time of the accident.

“I mean John Young and Orange Blossom Trail run north or south on either side of that area,” said Matt Thielmann.

Thielmann is part of the public safety committee in the Hunter’s Creek community association.

He said his committee has been looking at the stretch of road where the teen died for quite some time after a separate incident at the same intersection last October.

Three men lost their lives from a two-vehicle accident with the report concluding speeding to be the cause.

Other neighborhood leaders like Ruthanne Connor-King said population growth is another issue that needs to be addressed.

“Hunter Creek’s boulevards are a cut-through for commuter traffic to those new communities and they weren’t designed for that. They were designed as residential streets. The speed limits are 40 and widely ignored,” Connor-King said.

Wilson said instead of relying on a crackdown on speeding, she is looking at new designs.

“Traffic engineering here did inform me that there is an ongoing design study through a consultant and what we’re hoping to do is to try and find traffic calming design techniques,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the county is looking at possibly adding traffic lights, narrowing the lanes to force slower speeds, or even adding speed bumps on the road.

In the meantime, the community association is looking into its own traffic calming technique.

“The speed limit signs, or trailers where there is a trailer in the median that shows you how fast you are going,” Thielmann said.

Wilson said at this time there is no timetable on how soon changes will happen.

In the meantime, she is also encouraging folks to take this survey online, so that people can weigh on transportation concerns in Orange County.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.