Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

July 18, 2013

Family killed crossing notorious Philly road

PHILADELPHIA — Samara Banks often called a cab to take her and her four little boys home from family visits on the other side of Roosevelt Boulevard, a 12-lane, cross-town highway that’s notorious in Philadelphia for both drag racing and pedestrian deaths.

But she thought it had cooled down enough Tuesday night to walk the mile back home.

Banks, 28, and her three youngest sons were killed as they crossed at a point with grassy medians dividing the traffic lanes, but no crosswalk or traffic light. Her oldest, a 5-year-old, survived with bumps and bruises.

Police were questioning a 22-year-old driver allegedly seen racing another vehicle just before the 10:30 p.m. crash, and said charges were pending.

“The cab service knows her well,” said LaTanya Byrd, an aunt who described Banks as a devoted mother who had helped raise siblings after her own mother died. “Last night, it got a little cooler and she felt she could walk.”

Roosevelt Boulevard had the nation’s 2nd and 3rd most dangerous intersections in a 2001 insurance company study, which tallied 618 crashes at those two intersections alone in a two-year period.

The speed limit is 40 mph where Banks and her boys were killed, but drivers frequently go 10 or 20 miles above that to make — or run — a light, neighbors said Wednesday. Many residents of the lower-income area don’t have cars, and are left to traverse the boulevard on foot to get to schools, parks and stores.

Just hours after Banks and her boys died, Iris Rolon chose the same mid-block route to cross with her 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old niece. They were walking to a city pool on the 95-degree day.

“It ain’t safe, but I like to wait until I see that the light changes,” said Rolon, who admits she once had a close call crossing the boulevard in her youth.

Police could not immediately provide more recent data on fatal or non-fatal accidents on the road, but news reports detail a few of them.

Last August, 43-year-old Michael Romano died after pushing his 5-year-old son out of danger just before he was struck by a hit-and-run driver at 11 p.m. His death came just days after another man was killed in a 2 a.m. hit and run nearby.

And 36-year-old pedestrian Brenda Rodriguez was struck and killed in June 2009 after she and a friend picked up Chinese food. Witnesses said she was struck as two drivers racing each other, both of whom fled.

They died even after police installed red-light cameras to try to calm traffic.

“Every time I cross the boulevard, I see somebody running the light. I think they don’t know there’s a camera there,” said Angel Mendoza, 32, who lives a block away.

The young man being questioned in Tuesday’s crash was driving a 2012 Audi, while the other car involved was a 1994 Honda, police said.

Banks had previously worked at a day care center, and her apartment was often the gathering spot for her large extended family, relatives said. They plan to bury her with her 7-month-old son in a cemetery plot just across the street, and bury her 23-month-old and 4-year-old together in an adjacent plot.  

“She was a great parent,” Byrd said. “When her mom passed, she just took over and got things done.”

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Lake Park considers millage rate increase

    Lake Park has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will result in a 29.64 percent increase in property taxes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Free Health Fair slated for August 9th

    A free health fair hosted by the 100 Black Men of Brooks-Grady-and-Thomas Counties, Inc. and sponsored by Archbold Hospital will take place on August 9th  from 8:00am until 12 noon.

    July 28, 2014

  • BtpsXVpIgAEXKB-.jpg Manhunt underway for drivers of stolen dump truck

    This morning, around 8:00 deputies from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a dump truck traveling south on I-75.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingston’s loss means less clout for Ga.

    For two decades, Rep. Jack Kingston was a congressman who routinely crushed his opponents on election night — winning a new term every other year with vote totals between 63 and 77 percent.

    July 28, 2014

  • IMG_3745.jpeg Gas leak on West Adair

    A gas leak has occured on West Adair Street, between Tombs and Oak Street. The leak began just after 11 a.m.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • salmonella 2 copy.jpg Trial nears for suspects in salmonella case

    Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georgia.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP4507280123 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, July 28, 2014
    Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year. 
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commercial driver training program expanding

    Department of Driver Services (DDS) Commissioner Rob Mikell announced recently an expansion of the commercial driver training program administered by the Agency’s Regulatory Compliance Division. DDS will now offer a Commercial Driver License (CDL) Instructor Training Class for customers who have applied to be CDL instructors. The session will provide additional guidance as the applicants prepare for the final exam.

    July 28, 2014

  • Tentative deal reached on VA reform

    The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees have reached a tentative agreement on a plan to fix a veterans’ health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 27, 2014

  • Heat advisory for much of South Georgia

    A heat advisory is in place for much of South Georgia until 7 p.m.

    July 27, 2014

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results