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Dark road causes crashes, Midvale residents say

Posted at 11:40 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 01:41:53-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Residents in Midvale Park say a lack of street lights on a major residential road are causing car crashes.

On Oak Tree Drive between Drexel and Valencia there are streets on part of the road, but not on the other. If you drive south on that stretch, you will notice the lights disappear near W. Chardonnay Drive. South of that there are no lights.

"It's pitch black out here," says Joseph Miller, president of the Midvale Park Neighborhood Association.

Miller says when lights were originally installed along Oak Tree Dr years ago, the city ran out of money and could not finish installing them on the rest of the street.

Since then, lights have been one of the highest priorities for Midvale Park residents. In a 2005 survey of the neighborhood, 20 percent of households said putting lights on the rest of Oak Tree Dr was the number one priority.

One reason they say it is a high priority, there are crashes in the areas not lit at night.

Nine On Your Side checked with the Tucson Police Department, they say in 2015, there were 26 car collisions on that stretch of road.

In many of the collisions, cars smash into retaining walls protecting homes along the street.

Rose Tillman lives on Oak Tree Dr and she says the wall around her home has been crashed into three times.

"It is kind of scary because the kitchen is right there, the last car that came in went into the yard," said Tillman, her kitchen is about 10 feet from the wall.

Tillman's backyard wall looks like a patchwork quilt because it's been rebuilt so many times. She says they no longer use the area for fear of getting hit in a crash.

"We can't barbecue back there anymore, especially on Sundays when we get together," she said. "We don't even go out there anymore."

Down the street from Tillman, Cynthia Ruiz says the wall surrounding here home near Headley and Oak Tree has been hit twice.

"Muy oscuro," said Ruiz over and over again in Spanish.

She says it is very dark on that portion of the street and it could be the reason why there are so many collisions.

Ruiz has photos of an accident at her house dating back to 1995 when a truck crashed through the wall surrounding her home and destroying the pool they just installed. She recalls another incident when a car crashed through the wall sending bricks into her kitchen. Luckily no one was inside at the time.

At her intersection, there are two solar lights the Homeowners Association in Midvale Park paid for, but Ruiz says they do not give off much light,.

Residents we spoke to are pushing to light up the rest of Oak Tree.

"I think it would be a big plus for the drivers," said Tillman.

"The lights provide safety not only for the drivers, but for walkers and it just improves the overall feel of the community," said Miller.

Leftover Pima County neighborhood reinvestment money recently became available for communities. The Midvale Park Neighborhood Association and Ward 1 in the City of Tucson are putting together a grant to secure some of that for lights on Oak Tree Dr.