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Collision indicative of traffic woes at Hickmans Crossroads, resident says

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

It wasn’t an atypical wreck, and there were no injuries, but it’s a reflection of traffic issues along Hickman Road, a longtime resident says.

After a Ford Explorer rear-ended another vehicle that had slowed for traffic behind a tractor Monday morning, longtime Hickmans Crossroads resident Harold Hickman said more needs to be done to make the two-lane road safer.

“I’ve been trying for years to get some actions on these crossroads,” Hickman, 87, said after disembarking from his own tractor at the wreck scene.

A westbound 2012 Honda Accord driven by Teri DiGirolamo, 62, of the Meadowlands community, was rear-ended by a 2012 Ford Explorer driven by Daniel Graziani, 18, of Longs, S.C.

The wreck, reported at 9:30 a.m., occurred just west of Hickmans Crossroads, where Ash-Little River and Calabash roads meet heavily traveled Hickman Road.

Neither driver was seriously injured.

DiGirolamo said she had slowed for a tractor when the wreck occurred.

“I just got hit in the back,” she said.

Trooper T.D. Wheeler with the North Carolina Highway Patrol said the impact pushed DiGirolamo’s car off the road and into the ditch.

Graziani, who was charged with failure to reduce speed, didn’t realize the line of traffic was moving as slowly as it was behind a slow-moving tractor. Wheeler said there was no indication of alcohol, texting or cell-phone usage in the collision.

“He just misjudged,” Wheeler said.

He said the driver hit the brakes at the last second, estimating westbound traffic ahead of him was moving 20-25 mph and Graziani was going around 45 mph in the 55 mph zone. Both vehicles sustained “pretty good damage,” Wheeler said.

Hickman said he had been plowing in his field when he was returning home in the eastbound lane and came upon the wreck where emergency personnel had responded.

The traffic-safety engineering graduate deemed Hickmans Crossroads the “most dangerous crossroads in Brunswick County.”

Hickman said he has complained to state officials and asked for a red-and-yellow traffic signal and reduced speed limit to 35 mph as the amount of traffic has increased.

A professional traffic count two or three years ago showed an average of 750 cars an hour going through there, Hickman said.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Hickman, who lives just yards away on Calabash Road. “I’ve sat five, eight and 10 minutes trying to get into the flow of traffic.”

 

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.