City officials say a traffic light won’t be added at the Delray Beach intersection where Uber driver J. Gerald Smith died in a car crash, but improvements have reportedly been planned for the intersection.
Smith, 82, was killed on September 21 while crossing Federal Highway when a Lamborghini driven by Roger Wittenberns crashed into his Buick Enclave SUV.
According to investigators, Wittenberns, 60, allegedly said that he and his girlfriend Patty McQuiggin had been drinking in downtown Delray Beach hours before the accident occurred. Police believe speed and alcohol may have been factors in the crash, but the investigation is still ongoing. No charges have been filed.
Smith’s death was not enough to convince the city to install a traffic light at the intersection of Federal Highway and Northeast First Street. John Morgan, the director of environmental services for Delray Beach, told news sources that the city will do what it can to keep the area safe, but while the accident “is a tragic thing, [it] is a result of misbehavior . . . you can’t really control bad driving with signs and lights.”
Traffic engineers reportedly examined the amount of traffic and number of accidents that take place at the intersection and concluded that a traffic light is not needed. The approved changes for the intersection include:
- A warning sign for drivers informing them that traffic on Northeast First Street and Federal Highway is continuous
- A bigger stop sign
- Removal of a public bench and trash can that may have blocked views
Morgan is working with engineers to decide what the city should do next. He expects the approved changes to the intersection to be completed within the next two months. The effectiveness of the changes will be reviewed every six months.
Smith’s wife, Eloisa Smith, filed a suit against Wittenberns last month seeking compensation for funeral and medical expenses, as well as the emotional and mental pain caused by the death of her husband.