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Winter Park, FDOT conduct traffic study along Orange Avenue

City leaders to get update on investigation after fatal New Year's Eve crash

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Winter Park city commissioners are expected to get an update on a traffic investigation along Orange Avenue after two women were killed in a high-speed crash on New Year's Eve

The city and Florida Department of Transportation initiated the study after the fatal crash. 

Garrick Spears has lived along Orange Avenue for two years. He said cars fly down the road and many do not obey the posted 35 mph speed limit.

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"This is a raceway and it's proven by New Year's Eve," Spears said.

Justin Fonner, 28, was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and reckless driving causing serious bodily injury after Winter Park police said he caused the fatal crash on New Year's Eve.

[PREVIOUS STORY: BMW driver going 128 mph before fatal Winter Park crash, police say]

He entered a plea of not guilty, according to court records.

Police said Fonner was driving more than 120 miles per hour when he T-boned a vehicle that was pulling out from a home on Orange Avenue. The victims, identified as Geena Brigitte Pabarue and Keisha Oyola Perales, both 23, were killed.

A small memorial is still there months later.

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"To see two young girls lose their life right in front of our house because somebody was showing off his car," Spears said.

The fatal crash prompted city commissioners and FDOT to look into traffic concerns along the state road.

City leaders are expected to get an update on the traffic study Monday afternoon during the City Commission meeting.

According to the commission agenda, 11 crashes happened over the past two years near the Westchester and Orange avenues intersection and from cars turning left onto Orange Avenue from side streets or crossing over the roadway. 

[READ: Full city commission agenda]

The agenda says that 14,000 vehicles drive along Orange Avenue per day at an average speed of 41 mph. 

"The volumes are relatively low for a four-lane road and the speed is not excessively high for this type of corridor," the agenda said.

According to the agenda, the city said FDOT's study shows a traffic signal "does not appear to be warranted based on volumes."

Instead, officials suggested other safety improvements, such as only allowing vehicles to make right turns from side streets during peak hours, investigating "de-widening" the road, or installing speed-measuring signs to alert drivers to excessive speed.

The city said a short-term improvement could be installing speed-message signs on the asphalt to reinforce speed limits, according to the commission agenda. The city added installing speed-feedback signs that display current speeds could "also be implemented quickly at an estimated cost of below $10,000," the agenda stated.

Spears said he is hopeful the city and state can come up with a solution and prevent any future tragedies.

"This is a dangerous road. People obviously have lost their lives needlessly here and they need to address it," he said.

According to the commission agenda, additional studies would need to be conducted to determine which improvement suggestion would work best. 

The Winter Park City Commission will receive an update on the Orange Avenue traffic investigation during the commission meeting at City Hall scheduled for Monday at 3:30 p.m.


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