RV Park Residents Seek Fix to Deadly Park Turn

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March 15, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Friends of Judy Cates, who died in a March 1 car crash as she slowed to turn from U.S. Highway 101 into the Discovery Bay Resort near Gardiner, Wash., want to make it safer to turn left to get home, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

Saddened and angered by the unexpected loss of their friend, Nicki Sexton and Lynn Kauffman and other residents of the recreational vehicle resort plan to approach state Department of Transportation officials later this spring with a plan.

They want to improve safety on the often traffic-snarled Highway 101 that fronts the park's entrance in a speed-prone stretch west to Wild Birds Unlimited.

They're talking about a left-turn lane, perhaps, an idea that has been broached before but which would be expensive for the resort, which is on a private drive.

Or at least some signs could be erected — something, anything, to lessen the possibility that someone else will die.

"We need to do something," Kauffman said.

Cates was preparing to turn left on U.S. Highway 101 into the Gardiner lease-hold RV park when a motorist clipped her 2002 Saturn four-door sedan's right rear corner, spinning it into the oncoming lane where it was hit hard from behind by two other cars.

Cates, 59, died at the scene. Three others received minor injuries in the three-car crash, the State Patrol said.

Many park residents had believed it was just a matter of time before such a horrific fatal crash occurred.

"Last summer, we had one of our RVs hit out there," Kauffman recalled Friday.

An educator and administrator for 30 years in Houston, Texas, before she retired to the park, Cates had managed its office since June 2009.

"There's still a lot of anger yet, a lot of frustration," said Sexton, park manager.

Sexton, Kauffman and other park and community residents who conducted a celebration of Cates' life at Gardiner Community Center on Wednesday hope to turn their anger into productive action.

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