On October 14, 2022, Van Alstyne police responded to a two-vehicle crash on the US 75 service road just north of Jim Jones Road. A Hyundai Elantra driven by Gurinderpal Singh Sooch (32), was traveling south in the northbound lane when he struck a black BMW driven by Samuel Petelski (19). Both drivers reported that they swerved toward each other before the crash. A witness to the crash confirmed that both vehicles were traveling in the northbound lane. The officer’s report indicates that a contributing factor in the crash was Mr. Sooch traveling in the wrong lane of travel. Mr. Petelski sustained injuries in the crash and was transported to a local hospital. Mr. Sooch refused medical treatment at that time.
Two-way frontage roads are becoming a thing of the past and I for one, am glad to see the change. This roadway design was more common between 1950-1970’s and was seen more often in rural communities without the high urban population density. According to Hernan Rozemberg, a Public Information Officer with TxDOT, Texas experienced a lot more growth by 1990 and head-on crashes on frontage roads increased considerably. To improve safety and keep up with needed reforms, Texas began to change the design of frontage roads to a one-way system. Rozemberg says this not only improves safety but reduces congestion. Unfortunately, this has not yet come to rural areas like Van Alstyne and Howe where we are beginning to see more traffic on the roads from the population growth of nearby communities. While we don’t really know what led to the driver being in the wrong lane of travel, we know that whatever the reason, it would have been considerably less likely had the frontage road been one-way. It is difficult to anticipate what evasive action, if any, will be taken by another driver. Sometimes, you have to make a last minute maneuver to avoid a collision. Though he tried, the injured driver was unable to avoid this collision.