Problem Solvers: Deadly intersection in far northeast El Paso
It's been just over a month since three young boys lost their mother who died in a car crash two days after Christmas. While they can't get her back, the family wants to save others from a similar fate.
“I've never seen my brother that happy,” Rosa Campbell said about her brother’s relationship with the victim.
Amanda Hamil and Carlos Villanueva seemed like a loving couple that was meant to be.
“They were always together and you would admire them because they were wonderful together; they were meant for each other,” Campbell said.
Campbell said her brother, Carlos, and his girlfriend, Amanda, dated for two years until a fatal crash on Mesquite Hills and Gateway North tore them apart.
“A lady ran the stop sign there. She ran the stop sign and hit them and it flipped and ejected both of them and my daughter was killed,” Donna Stewart said.
Stewart lost her daughter in the crash and her grandkids lost their mother.
“They're never going to get their mom back, ever,” Stewart said. “She's not just in the hospital. She's gone forever because that could have been prevented. That should never have happened.”
The couple's families are now demanding change.
“They need to put something, a light, because people really don't respect the stop sign,” Campbell said.
El Paso Police report there were 11 crashes at that intersection in 2017. Two of which were fatal.
“I don't know what it will take for them to put a traffic light up,” Stewart said. “I have no idea. I mean, what more does it take for them to look at it? A family dying? Is that what they need to see?”
Bob Bielek is an engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation.
He said that after every fatal crash, TxDOT conducts a review of the street.
“What could we have done from a design standpoint, from a construction standpoint, from an operational standpoint that may have lessened the likelihood that we would have had that fatality?” Bielek said.
TxDOT studied the intersection where Amanda was killed.
“We took a good hard look at it and it does meet the basic warrants for a signal,” Bielek said.
Mesquite Hills is owned by the city but US 54, or Gateway North Boulevard, is a state highway.
Together, TxDOT and the city of El Paso will put in a traffic light.
“Originally, we were looking between the city and ourselves enough spare parts to coddle together two signals to put out there,” Bielek said.
It'll be 60 to 90 days before the traffic signal goes up.
While it might be too late for Amanda, her mother hopes to spare other families from the pain she feels.
“I wouldn't want anybody to go through what we have gone through. I can't even explain it,” Stewart said. “She was my only daughter, best friend.
Amanda was buried last month in Oklahoma, where she grew up. Carlos is still in recovery from the injuries he suffered during the crash.