He was only twelve years old – the most tragic day of my late mother’s life as he died in her arms. -Thomas Moon

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The Danger

OUR STORY HAS BEEN PICKED UP BY 11Alive, CBS46 AND WSB-TV.

READ THE ARTICLES AND WATCH THE ONLINE VIDEO HERE.

The stretch of N. Druid Hills Road between N. Valley Drive and N. Druid Hills Circle is treacherous.  There have been numerous fatal accidents, countless near-hits, and even pedestrians killed along this route.  The reason?  Increased speed, increased traffic volume, low turn visibility, and a dangerous curve.  This area is deadly and we need a change.

I am a homeowner in the North Druid Valley subdivision and co-president of our association.

The North Druid Valley development of approximately 110 homes sits on North Druid Hills Road with internal access at N. Valley Dr and N. Druid Hills Circle.

Residents leaving the neighborhood need to access N. Druid Hills road by (1) pulling out of driveways directly onto N. Druid Hills Road or (2) pulling out of N. Valley Drive (which sits between 3631 N. Druid Hills Rd and 3603 N. Druid Hills Rd) or (3) pulling out of N. Druid Hills Circle (which sits between 3731 and 3717 N. Druid Hills Rd).

For years, our neighborhood has been plagued with accidents resulting from the speeding traffic on N. Druid Hills Rd.

With increased traffic and increased speed on this part of a major artery (about 1.5 miles from the ramp off of Highway 78 and running to Buckhead), coupled with limited visibility, residents have suffered about 10 rear end collisions and near misses in the last few years, and several years ago, a child was struck and killed attempting to cross to the neighborhood on his way home from school.

On Saturday May 5, 2012, there was another fatal car accident in this same stretch. A police officer at the scene told me he does everything he can to avoid this part of N. Druid Hills Rd when driving on his own time due to the nature of this stretch.

We are seeking a mechanism to reduce the risk associated with this dangerous, life-threatening situation: a turn lane or blinking light or traffic signal or calming devices.

We could use your help.

Incidents

Short List of Compiled Incidents – more are on the way!

Thomas Moon – 04/10/1976
My family has lived at 363X North Druid Hills Road since October 10, 1956. I have seen at least 10 deaths and many serious accidents in the very small area of North Druid Hills Road that fronts our neighborhood.  For more than thirty years, we have been asking for a traffic light where North Valley Drive comes into North Druid Hills Road to slow down traffic, to make it possible for cars to come and go from the neighborhood safely, and to allow for pedestrians to cross North Druid Hills Road.

I have particular interest in this traffic light because my kid brother was returning home from Laurel Ridge Elementary School and was run over and killed near our home on April 10, 1976. He was only twelve years old – the most tragic day of my late mother’s life as he died in her arms.

Our neighborhood has appealed for this traffic signal since my brother’s death and we have not been heard.

Over the past thirty years, tremendous development has taken place in the area adding to the traffic and congestion – especially off of Lawrenceville Highway. This already overburdened street will certainly draw more traffic as a result of the plans further west at North Druid Hills Road and Briarcliff Road.

I think it is now even more critical that a light be placed at North Valley Drive and North Druid Hills Road as you plan the redevelopment of North Druid Hills Road and Briarcliff Road.

L. Bishop – 1990
Driving eastbound on NDH at 8 AM, westbound traffic was heavy, stopped at the light at Willivee and backed up to Laurel Hill. Someone was trying to turn east bound out of Laurel Hill though a gap drivers had left in front of this street onto NDH. They could not see me, nor I them as they tried to pull out onto NDH through the gap in the stopped traffic. Both cars totaled, plus damage to another I almost hit when pulling into the right lane to try to avert the wreck. That driver had to drive up into somebody’s yard to avoid me! I do think that another traffic light somewhere along this stretch of road is needed, but most of all, traffic calming AND/OR policing of the speed limit for Gwinnett County residents using NDH as a freeway to get to Buckhead/I85.

David Robichaud – 08/21/1991
On August 21, 1991, I was stopped on North Druid Hills (heading west) waiting for the on-coming traffic to clear so that I could turn onto North Valley Drive when I was hit from behind by a car.   The damage to my car was about $10,000; luckily there were no significant personal injuries other than bruises and sprains.   The other driver received the ticket for the accident.   I am not sure what record of the accident exists since I was told she was a “juvenile”, perhaps under 18, and that she would not appear in a normal court session but rather perhaps a juvenile court.

Amy Arubado – 2000
I am a former neighbor. We lived at 102X Homewood Court.  I had someone visit me around the year 2000.  He turned left out of the neighborhood and was hit by 2 cars.  His car was totalled.  Luckily, he was not hurt.  After that we never took a left out of the neighborhood.  We turned right and would turn left in the neighborhood across from the mall.  I think someone is going to have to be killed for them to put a light there.  Years ago at one of the neighborhood meetings we were pretty much told that.  The speed limit used to be 35 on N. Druid Hills Road.  It was raised to 40, but the reason for the low speed limit is because of all the neighborhoods and people trying to turn onto the road.  Usually people are doing 60 or higher.

Sharon McAlister – 02/05/2006
It was Gena’s sister that was involved in a rear-end accident as she was turning left from North Druid Hills onto North Valley Drive. This is the information that she sent to me (cut and pasted below). I asked her for the date and any other information that she wanted to share. This is it:

Stopped, waiting to turn left, the car behind me stopped and the truck flew around the curve and slammed into the car behind me and then she hit me.  My car repairs were over $8,000. I missed several days of work due to neck and back issues, as well as coordinating car repairs and all.  I would say total the accident cost around $12,000 when you factor in the medical costs, the property damage, etc.

Bruce Powell – 06/07/2007
On June 7, 2007 at approximately 6:15 pm, as I was returning home from work, I found myself stopped in the left westbound lane on N Druid Hills Rd. waiting for a break in the miles-long line of eastbound traffic in order to make a left turn onto N. Valley Dr.  I had been sitting for about 4 minutes (apparently, no one wanted to let me cross their lane!) when I was rear-ended by a nice, little, 96 year old lady who said “she never saw me stop.”  The officer who responded asked if she had time to apply her breaks – she said no.  I do not know if she was charged with any violations.  My car was totaled by her insurance company who offered me a settlement of about 65% of my car’s value.  I was treated by a physical therapist for about 8 weeks for pretty severe shoulder pain (I had turned my head to the left to look for a break in traffic) as I was hit at about 45 mph.  That’s about it.

Dorothy McGoff – 02/12/2008
I will relate to you my accident and Charlie’s is much the same except the man who hit him stopped and accepted the blame. On Feb. 12, 2008 at about 3:10 I was stopped with my brake on and my left turn signal on waiting for oncoming traffic  to clear, so I could complete my left turn onto North Valley Drive from North Druid Hills Rd. All of a sudden, the on-coming car in back of me slammed into my right rear. My head bent forward, and my foot came off the brake. When raising my head I saw out of the corner of my eye, a car moving around the right of my car, and just that quick I realized he did not stop and quickly was on his way. I suspect he was moving at a pretty good clip and did not notice I was stopped until the very last minute, and was going to swing around me on the right, but there was an other car coming up on the right light lane, and he had to wait for that car to clear, before continuing on his way. Charlie’s was like I say much the same but the man had the decency to stop and exchange Insurance information. We do have collision insurance and was going to have the car repaired and continue to use it.  However the insurance company has deemed it not economical to repair.  To shorten the story, we now have to purchase a newer car, costing us some $7,000 more to do so.

Vickie Shows – 03/16/2008
Vickie and Wally Shows, 90X Homewood CT

As you know Wally and I have lived at Homewood court for 36 years. Our children went to Laurel Ridge and graduated from Shamrock High. After Thom Moon’s brother (he was my son’s age at the time) was killed on NDH in 1976, we, the neighborhood parents, started a campaign headed by Adrienne Wiggins to get the county to put a traffic light at one of the entrances into our neighborhood. We tried for 3 years and nothing was done. “…not enough cars going in and out.” Then later, we petitioned for the school bust to pick up our children, since we had at least 15 kids at the elementary school at one time. No deal. “we were too close to the schools for the bus to come in and collect the kids.” We should have hired an attorney, but we did not think we could fight City Hall. I also had an experience with the traffic as Dorothy at North Druid Cir. I was waiting to make a left turn; the car behind me stopped, but the card behind her did not and hit her. I had moved on to make the left turn, and was not hit. The woman’s car was badly damaged and she was hurt. Wally was hit in the same area also making a left turn by someone who was driving so fast, she could not stop. Of course, Wally got the traffic ticket because he was making a left turn. He was ok.

Now more than ever it is critical that a light be placed at North Valley Drive and North Druid Hills Road as you plan the redevelopment of North Druid Hills Road and Briarcliff Road.

Bryan Dodd – 12/09/2008
Bryan Dodd 106X Latham Road

Last Thursday night, I was heading north on NDH, (having left the Publix at Shamrock) and attempted to take a left onto North Druid Hills Circle. It was around 8:30 at night and the pavement was wet. I was just sitting still, waiting to make my left, when I saw a car coming up behind me. His brakes locked up and he hit me. My beloved 4Runner is probably totalled. The good news is that my dog Katie, who was sitting in the back seat, wasn’t hurt either. We were both a little rattled, but not injured. I saw the guy coming and even pumped my brake lights to get his attention. Didn’t work. Anyhow, in this time of holiday parties, please exercise caution as you go about your business. This guy had been drinking, but passed a field sobriety test. So please be careful. Don’t drink and drive. And have a safe, holiday season!

Anne Borden – 01/08/2009
I had a near-accident this morning.  Although we avoided an actual collision, I thought it was worth sharing. It was around 8:30am and I was waiting to turn L onto N. Druid Valley with my L turn signal on. The car behind me was going too fast. She slammed on her brakes (I heard a loud squeal) and swerved to avoid an accident.

Bertha Blanchard – 2/17/2009
Bertha Blanchard, 111X N. Druid Hills Circle

When going eastbound on N. Druid Hills Rd. and slowing down to turn right into our neighborhood at N. Druid Hills Circle, drivers routinely honk their horns at her in aggravation.  For some, then, our neighborhood’s traffic concerns stem not only from left-hand turns but also right-hand turns into the neighborhood.

Sun Xiaodong – 07/29/2010

It was about 8AM, my wife dropped me at the Stop sign on N. Druid Hills Cir, then she was trying to turn left onto N. Druid Hills Rd. While she made sure that there was no traffic from right side, and saw one car was coming from far left, she turned, but hit a car which she did not see in the beginning. I saw the accident happen, and called 911. Police came, wrote a citation to my wife for an improper turn.

We always have had hard times to turn left onto N. Druid Hills Rd. and coming home from N. Druid Hills RD., if there was a light, that will be really helpful.

Now, we left with no car to use, and my wife could not go to work today because of this. It will take about 2 weeks to get everything fixed according to the shop.

Thank you all for reading all these, please please be careful and make sure there are no traffic from both sides when you are trying to turn left onto N. Druid Hills RD. My wife and I feel sorry and terrible about what happened.

Elizabeth – 04/2011
I had just dropped my son off for school at Laurel Ridge.  I was at stop sign on Laurel Hill waiting to turn right on N. Druid Hills.  There was a lady on N. Druid Hills waiting to turn left on Laurel Hill.  She got rear-ended by a man who didn’t see her at that very tricky, subtle curve. She was pushed into oncoming traffic and was hit again (almost) head-on.  There were serious injuries (not critical).  I would imagine at least two of the three cars involved where totaled.  It all happened in an instant.  Very scary!

Phillip – 10/02/2011
I was the victim of a hit and run driver at the corner of North Druid Hills Rd. and Birch Rd. by the Pier1 Imports on Sunday October 2, 2011 around 2 p.m. While I was making a left turn at the light, exiting North Dekalb Mall, he crossed the line and bumped the driver side wheel on my new white Volkswagen, causing mechanical damage (steering damage). He laughed, then said ‘nothing happened, sir’ and took off running. I couldn’t write the tag number, and couldn’t block traffic.

2012-Ongoing

Cheryl Carroll
During the 8 years I’ve lived at 111X N. Druid Hills Circle, I’ve learned what happens when an accident occurs and N. Druid Hills Road is shut down. Traffic is re-routed through our neighborhood, which happens to be on the street I live on. On the various occasions this has happened, autos do not obey our neighborhood speed limit, but in fact actually speed through our neighborhood (no different than they do on N. Druid Hills Road). It’s bad enough dealing with speeding vehicles trying to exit/enter my neighborhood, but to see and deal with this in the neighborhood is appalling – especially after a fatality.

My neighbor has a chain link and pylon – I am seriously considering getting one. There must have been over 50 cars that turned around in my driveway at the last accident. We’re lucky no one was injured IN our neighborhood by vehicles too impatient to get to where they were going.

Craig
I live in the Haverhill Town home community on NDH between Blackshear and Spring Creek and we suffer all of the same accidents and dangers due to the traffic and speed of drivers on NDH. Many of our community’s residents are elderly and with no traffic light for dedicated turns onto NDH, we have encountered several accidents of late.

Dr. Judith Miller
Greetings, I am writing or express my profound support for a traffic light along N Druid Hills Rd near Laurel Hill Dr.  I live on Laurel Hill Dr and the only way I can exit or enter the neighborhood safely is to wind around to the light at Willivee and N Druid or, if going the other way, near the Publix.  Moreover, without a light at the intersection, I cannot cross the street to get to the bus stop for the route 8 line.  I take the MARTA bus as often as possible, but can only access the Laurel Hill Dr side of the road.  That has meant much wasted time and looping around through MARTA routes to be able to get off the bus safely.

Cars, trucks and buses come flying up the long slow incline on either side of the spot where Laurel Hill Dr comes out onto N Druid—and one cannot see them coming either way.  Thus, I cannot make a left turn into the street or make a turn either direction to exit.  It is a very dangerous, virtually uncontrolled  stretch of road with very poor visibility.

I urge you to put a light and a crosswalk at the intersection of Laurel Hill Dr and N Druid Hills Rd.

Charles
We live at the west end of N Druid Hills near Briarcliff Rd and take our lives in our hands when every time we attempt to exit our neighborhood onto N Druid Hills Rd. This road is used as an expressway for people wanting to get to and from I-285 and Stone Mountain Parkway. We regularly see cars going 20-30 miles over the posted speed limit.

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Voice Your Support

Help us by telling your story or by lending your voice to ours. The following people have influence and can assist us in our mission to make this area safer. Please contact them and tell them you support traffic changes on N. Druid Hills between Willivee and Birch Roads. If you e-mail them, please let us know and CC us at

Dekalb County Officials
Burrell Ellis, Chief Executive Officer

404-371-2881
Twitter – @burrellellis

Jeff Rader, Commissioner – District 2

404-371-2863
Twitter – @raderjeff

Kathie Gannon, Commissioner – Super District 6

404-371-4909

Georgia State Senate
Jason Carter – District 42
404-463-1376

Twitter @senatorcarter
Facebook

Georgia State Representative
Mary Margaret Oliver District 83
404-656-0265

Facebook

Atlanta-Area Media
11 Alive Commuter Dude (John Gerard) Twitter @commuterdude
CBS 46 Pothole Patrol – click REPORT to submit your story

Who We Are

We are the concerned citizens who live and work along a very dangerous stretch of N. Druid Hills Road. Every day we face uncertainty when we turn into or out of our neighborhood, driving to or returning from work, after running errands, or picking up or dropping off our children from school or practice. We are also the people who pick up the pieces when horrific accidents happen, direct traffic through the neighborhood when the road is shut down for an investigation, and console injured and terrified friends and neighbors when they are victims of a crash or near-collision.

Photos & Videos

Television Coverage of Our Story

CBS 46

MP4

WSB-TV (patience please…it’s a large video)

MP4

Crash Photos- more on the way soon!