FDOT to investigate deadly Manatee County intersection

From cars trying to make u-turns to backed-up traffic, U.S. 301 at 42nd Avenue Road East has become a headache for many Manatee County residents.

"It don’t matter what time of day it is, time of night. All you hear is breaks squealing and everyone trying to do u-turns. It’s just so congested in this area," said Wes Thompson, who has lived in Ellenton his whole life. "It scares me because also they turn into this neighborhood down here and fly down here."

He hopes the intersection will soon become a safer place for him and his son, Connor, to travel.

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"There needs to be a few lights here. We need to break up the traffic, it’s just so bad as you see behind me it’s just steadily going, tractor-trailers, all the cars, trucks, everything you can think of it’s just horrible," said Thompson.

In October, 17-year-old Mikeal Steele was hit and killed while on his motorcycle. According to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol, David Shanks made a turn and hit and killed Mikeal.

Troopers said Shanks had been drinking and was impaired. Shanks was arrested for DUI manslaughter. Many believe a light could have saved Steele's life.

"Mikeal Steele paid the ultimate price at that intersection, we could save a lot more lives if that traffic light goes up," said Andy Ameres, who owns the nearby Shake Station.

He started a petition which has 1,700 signatures, asking for a traffic light. It was enough to catch the attention of the Florida Department of Transportation.

In an email to Ameres, FDOT said a preliminary analysis of the section of U.S. 301 showed further investigation is needed.

"Hopefully after step 1 they come with step 2 and pursue it and actually see how dangerous it is in this intersection both day and night," said Ameres.

The study will start in January.

FDOT said they will determine if any changes are needed. Ameres hopes this is just the beginning of a plan to make his community safer.

"It could save a lot of lives if they take it another step further," he said.