Petitioners: ‘we can’t give up’

Victorville resident killed in third deadly 395 accident in as many weeks

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

In the last two weeks, the News Review reported on two unrelated traffic collisions on Highway 395 that killed four people, two of whom were Ridgecrest residents. Since our last publication, another woman was killed in an accident near Victorville. These latest incidents have spurred those who know the lethal 90-mile stretch of highway from Inyokern to Hesperia to demand some changes.

“Highway 395 is notorious as being one of the deadliest highways in California,” said a release from Gary Charlon State Farm, urging locals to petition for road safety improvements. “The highway has become home to countless accidents with a climbing death toll in the hundreds. Too many have lost loved ones or have been permanently injured at the hands of a reckless driver and unsafe driving conditions.”

“When tragedies like this happen it can be very emotional for a time, but then we can forget,” said Charlon in an interview. “We need to not give up. We can make things happen, but it takes time.

“In the mid-’80s, Caltrans had plans to start working on the road in 2000. They had plans, but they never got there. Things get pushed by politicians and priorities get moved around, so it’s up to us. We just can’t stop.”

Charlon said that a representative from Assemblyman Vince Fong’s office met with locals at his office on Thursday to advocate for making road improvements on Hwy. 395.

“Vince said he had a meeting scheduled with Caltrans in just a few weeks so this was really good timing,” said Charlon.

Details from the meeting were not available when the News Review went to press.

“This is a statewide thing. It affects people from San Diego to Mammoth,” he said.

The two most recent online awareness campaigns are a GoFundMe and an iPetition page, both titled “Save Lives on 395.” The GoFundMe page is to raise money for “High Accident Zone” signs, while the latter’s aim is to raise public support and awareness.

Over the years, other online petitions have come and gone.

“We do need to consolidate our efforts,” said Charlon. “And we need to stay active.”

Charlon has hopes that Fong can help “get things moving” in regard to gathering data on the lethality of Hwy. 395 and pushing for more lanes and dividers.

For more information, visit online petitions at www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveliveson395 or www.gofundme.com/saveliveson395.

Story First Published: 2018-04-20