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Pear Street neighbors want something done about dangerous ditches

Neighbors are speaking out and calling for change on a deadly St. Joseph road.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 9:38 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Neighbors are speaking out and calling for change on a deadly St. Joseph road.

Pear Street, where many people live and work, was also the site of a deadly three-car crash last weekend. Amy Morse and her three young children died in that accident when her car skidded off the road and landed upside down in a water-filled ditch.

Tina Brant moved into her home on Pear Street four years ago. She and other neighbors KQ2 spoke to Monday said they believe if it wasn’t for the water, the Morse family would still be alive.

“It should not have happened. The top of that car wasn’t crushed,” Brant said. “Those babies were in seatbelts. Had that water not been there, they would have had a chance.”

She said prior to the accident she called city and state officials complaining about the dangerous road and asked them to fix the ditches. Brant said despite many conversations, nothing was done about it.

“I did everything I could do to prevent this. The neighbors have done everything that they could do to prevent this,” she said “Nobody wants to listen to us. Maybe now that a whole family is gone, maybe they will listen.”

Pear Street is a highway maintained by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Speaking with St. Joseph Councilman Spanky O’Dell by phone Monday, he said the city plans to speak with MoDOT about the issue and have something done about it.

“There have been lots of wrecks,” Brant said. “This is a busy, busy street. It needs guardrails, this water needs to be gone. It needs to be gone. Had the water not been here, we wouldn’t be talking.”

KQ2 reached out to MoDOT for comment about the history of the road and its maintenance. A spokesperson with the department said as a policy it does not comment on roads related to a crash until after law enforcement has completed its investigation.

KQ2 also reached out to the St. Joseph Police Department Monday, but SJPD said no further information or comment about the accident would be released until after the crash investigation is complete and prosecutors have had a chance to review it.

Brant said she and her husband were eyewitnesses the night of the wreck. Her husband was also one of the people who tried to pull Morse’s car out of the water.

“I watched my husband and them, like nuts, trying to get those babies out. You know my husband is a wreck. He can’t eat. He can’t sleep. He can’t undo it. He can’t unsee what he’s seen.”

KQ2 spoke to two other men who attempted to help get the Morse family out of the car and water that night. Both said they were not ready to go on camera about their experiences because they were too emotional and angry about the situation. But they said they are sick of city and state officials “passing the buck,” for the road and wanted someone to permanently fix it.

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Rain chances return to the forecast today with scattered showers possible mainly throughout the day. Most of the day will end up being dry and cloudy besides a few isolated showers. The rain will be light with most areas seeing around a tenth of an inch of precipitation. Temperatures will remain below average today with highs in the mid to upper 60s. Rain chances will start to increase this weekend with scattered showers likely off and on through the day Saturday. A few thunderstorms could develop as well Saturday afternoon into the evening. The rain will be light to moderate on Saturday with most areas only seeing around a quarter inch precipitation. More moderate to heavy rain is set to move into the area Sunday and Monday with a few thunderstorms. Rain totals from Friday through Monday will likely be around 1-2 inches.
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