A motorcyclist died after being struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Mullican Street and the Highway 70s Bypass on Friday morning.
Nelson Vogel, 66, was traveling toward downtown on Mullican Street on a Honda street-legal dirt bike. After entering the intersection, he collided with the side of a white Chevrolet pickup driven by Mary Hill, 59, traveling toward the mall on the bypass.
According to McMinnville Police Department officer Chuck Taylor, Hill entered the intersection even though she had the red light.
“Hill said she ran the red light because she thought she didn’t have enough time to stop,” said Taylor. “Vogel had the green light.”
While Hill was ticketed for running a red light, Vogel was transported from the scene by ambulance and airlifted by LifeFlight to Erlanger where he later died from his injuries.
“His condition was serious,” said Taylor. “He had broken legs and arms. He appeared to have compound fractures, but he was conscious at the scene.”
The accident happened in the midst of a summer-long campaign by McMinnville Police Department to try and reduce the number of red-light runners, as well as the accidents they cause, on the bypass.
“We have given out numerous citations and have received positive comments about the campaign,” said McMinnville Police Department Chief Bryan Denton. “Our efforts will continue.”
Police Lt. Mark Mara says he has seen a reduction in the number of red-light runners.
“From when we started this campaign to now, I have seen a decrease in the number of people who run red lights,” Mara said. “I think that is a direct reflection of motorists knowing we are watching in marked and unmarked cars, but they don’t know when.”
Prompting the campaign was a study done by the department at bypass intersections that determined one motorist runs a red light every seven light cycles, as well as departmental records that show accidents at the bypass intersections are twice as likely to include an injury.
The department is partnering with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office to pay for overtime salaries created by extra officers working the bypass.