Deadly Intersection

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

Karen Maise has lived in Walton County for 11 years, but it only took a fraction of that time to understand how dangerous Highway 98 can be.

"Two wrecks in the last three weeks since we've been here, one intersection and one at the previous one."

Where County Roads 395 and 283 meet Highway 98 has long been a danger spot. Just two weeks ago, 84-year-old Windsor Beebee was killed when he pulled his car in front of an oncoming SUV. Since that accident, deputies have been stationed at the two crossroads around the clock and warning signs have been put up.

The county has been fighting for years to get a traffic light installed. A local developer even offered to pay for one. So far, a light has been approved by the state, but that was back in July.

The state says it took so long because traffic studies must be done to determine the need for a light and that accidents aren't the only criteria. As of now, the county is still waiting for the long mast arms required for lights near the coast. Those parts still haven't arrived, which is no comfort for people like Karen.

“We need a light here. There's so much traffic. This place has grown so much. Eventually, I think a light would be much better for everyone to live with.”

The blue lights of the deputies are slowing down traffic, but they'll only be here for two weeks. Traffic lights will go up, but so far county officials are unsure when.

Traffic light setups at 395 and 283 will cost over $100,000 each. Last June, 18-year-old Jessica Darnell and her 16-year-old sister, Janae, were killed because of a car crash at 395 and Highway 98.


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