Students and parents are rallying behind two Fauquier County, Virginia, high school students seriously injured in a crash last month, reviving a years-long effort for safety improvements at what many view as a dangerous intersection.
Josue Salamanca and Hannah Meixner were in a Saturn sedan when it was struck as Salamanca tried to make a left turn from Old Tavern Road onto Route 17 near The Plains.
Meixner is out of the hospital, but Salamanca remains in intensive care.
“She has a long road to recovery, but she’s getting there,” friend Gigi Lostracco said. “She’s really strong.”
“We never thought anything like that would ever happen,” friend Abby Christensen said.
The teens’ friends painted car windows with a hashtag urging residents to send contributions to GoFundMe accounts created for each teen, and they are planning a 5K race to raise more money. Salamanca is a track star at Fauquier High School.
“I think it’s important to raise the money because we need to help relieve his family’s financial burden and so they can focus on helping him heal and get back to normal,” friend Emory Lillard said.
While students help raise money for medical expenses, parents are focused on improving safety at the intersection.
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“Even as an experienced driver I’ve had what I felt were like two close calls with the traffic because the speed of the cars on that road is well in excess of the 55 speed limit,” Abby Christensen said.
Last summer, the Virginia Department of Transportation reviewed the intersection for possible improvement but determined a signal light was not warranted, parents say. They plan to attend the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday to ask them to join their cause.
“An immediate and effective fix for the intersection,” Kate Lostracco. “It’s got to be now. It can’t be in six years, because who knows in that amount of time how many more accidents there will be that involve students, young drivers.”
A VDOT report shows at least 21 accidents at the intersection in the past five years.
Parents pointed out the intersection is just a few miles away from three high schools, so it’s a route many students and their families often take.