YELLOWSTONE COUNTY — According to neighbors, crashes happen frequently at the intersection of 56th Street West and Neibauer Road west of Billings. Now, one mother is petitioning to make it safer.
“I'm hoping that maybe we can add a couple of other stop signs for 56th and maybe some rumble strips that used to be here but are no longer here. Just to show awareness that there is in fact an intersection here,” said Melissa Bichsel, the woman who started the petition.
Bischel started the petition because her daughter Jordyn was recently the victim of a bad accident at the intersection.
The crash sent Jordyn Bischel to the ICU for eight days, and the passenger, Jordyn’s boyfriend, was also severely injured.
“So, I don't really remember my crash, but I do remember my passenger was my boyfriend. We were headed to his dad’s house and I’ve never been through this intersection before,” said Jordyn Bischel.
According to Melissa Bichsel, on Aug. 3, Jordyn was creeping up at the intersection on Neibauer Road to get a better view of oncoming traffic when she was hit by a truck, who did have the right of way.
“I think that people are just pulling up as far as they can so that they can see what’s coming. So they’re not necessarily running the stop sign, but just seeing where they can get to so that they can see,” said Melissa Bischel.
While looking south at the intersection, there is a number of trees, hedges, and even the street light pole which signals to those driving on Neibauer Road to stop.
The stop sign is also located roughly eight to ten feet from where the two roads meet.
There is a light above the intersection that signals drivers on Neibauer Road to stop, and flashes yellow to those driving on 56th Street. Signs also warn drivers that cross traffic does not stop on Neibauer Road.
“I don’t think people really realize that there's an intersection here. There's signs and stuff for the stop sign down each side of the road. There is a caution light on the other side of this red light, but people don’t pay attention to it. I think the intersection with all the trees is just really hidden,” says Melissa Bischel.
The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, whose jurisdiction includes this intersection, did not have any immediate data Tuesday as to how many crashes have occurred there.
The speed limit on both roads is 50 miles per hour. Less than two miles away, at the intersection of 56th Street and King Avenue, there is an four-way stop similar to the one Bischel is asking to be put up.
Bischel says the best way to get the county to take notice is by writing letters and emails.
Bischel also plans to show her petition to county commissioners, which she hopes will make a change.