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Turlock teen’s family calls for city to address dangerous intersection before another person dies

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TURLOCK, Calif. (KTXL) -- The grieving family of a Turlock teen is now pushing for safer streets at the intersection where she died last weekend.

It was at the intersection of West Avenue South and Angelus Street that Jacqueline and Ramiro Valenzuela’s 17-year-old cousin, Thaily Gutierrez, died.

It was also the point where they’re demanding change.

“They’re not really safe drivers. They really speed a lot down this road,” Ramiro said.

The siblings, as well as several neighbors, said they are concerned about the safety of the intersection.

Gutierrez was a passenger in a car that collided with an SUV last weekend. According to the Turlock Police Department, speed was a factor.

A neighbor shared a video of a crash that took place hours after the teenager was killed, highlighting what the Valenzuelas said are careless drivers.

“There could be more accidents and more people who are going to be mourning, and it’s just, it should be safer,” Jacqueline told FOX40.

Their mother, Paolo Maldonaldo, said she reached out to the city’s engineer.

“And we appreciate what the city of Turlock is doing and the law enforcement but changes and updates need to be done,” she said.

In response, the city temporarily closed a part of the road.

But the family said the community needs a stable solution.

“Just temporary. The city of Turlock did their best in 24 hours but it’s not going to be permanent,” Jacqueline said.

The road reopened shortly after FOX40 spoke to the family Friday.

They said what needs to happen now in order to slow drivers down is more police patrol. The family is also asking for speed bumps, more speed limit signs and maybe a four-way stop where their cousin died.

“This shouldn’t happen to anyone,” Maldonaldo said. “We need safety in our community for the sake of our children.”

FOX40 reached out to the city of Turlock’s engineering department, which sent a statement from City Engineer Nathan Bray that reads in part:

When the City receives a request to implement traffic control devices throughout the City of Turlock, the request is addressed by the City’s engineering division. Depending on the nature of the request, the City Engineer would evaluate the conditions for validity and possible changes to the infrastructure. ...

... Depending on the nature of the request, the process can take weeks to months. However, if an imminent hazard is found or identified anywhere during the process or by Staff’s routine duties, it is addressed expeditiously. If there is an appropriate interim measure that can be implemented until a final, permanent measure is in place, that process is identified. ...

... Every location is geographically unique with unique circumstances and is treated as such. What may work for one location may not for another.

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