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Family injured in head-on crash wants more safety measures on I-10

Family is asking the Arizona Department of Transportation to look at their safety measures on the busy freeway
Posted at 9:49 AM, May 27, 2024

On May 10, three people were taken to the hospital after being hit by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 10 near milepost 228, north of Marana near Red Rock.

Now, the family is asking the Arizona Department of Transportation to look at their safety measures on the busy freeway.

Matthew Gerwien, his mom, Kathryn Harralson, and his 2-year-old daughter Adaline were all taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Gerwien's fiancee, Taylor Steingold, told ABC15 it's a miracle her family is alive.

"You never think it's going to be your family," she said.

Steingold told ABC15 she's concerned about the lack of guardrails on the I-10. She said the crash highlights the need for more safety measures.

A spokesperson with the Arizona Department of Transportation said additional barriers are not used when the median is wide enough to create a "recovery zone designed to give vehicles that exit the freeway an opportunity to come to a complete stop."

Steingold doesn't think that's safe enough.

"It baffles me that can be enough – plants and dirt," she said.

Meanwhile, Gerwien's sister is a registered nurse in the Phoenix area and said she's seen head-on collisions end much worse.

“My mom and my brother were wearing their seatbelt and car seats – I’ve taken care of little babies who have not been in car seats. It is so important to have your child in car seats because that’s what saved my niece," she said.

She also wants drivers to pay more attention to the road ways.

Additionally, Steingold said she would like to see ADOT reconsider adding new barriers.

The family has created a GoFundMe page to help with some of the expected medical costs.

Gerwien is starting to walk again. His daughter is still recovering from brain bleeds but is expected to be okay. Meanwhile, Gerwien's mom is at a rehabilitation clinic in Gilbert.

FULL STATEMENT FROM ADOT:

"When it comes to cross-median crashes, wrong-way drivers or dust storms, there are no universal solutions to prevent collisions.

ADOT builds and maintains highways that meet state and federal guidelines. When the guidelines call for them, median barriers are installed. It should be recognized that barriers can become hazards themselves and generally are used based on sound engineering judgment. Where median barriers are warranted based on those national guidelines, they are placed.

Where the median is wide enough, as is the case with much of I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson, and with the location you are asking about, this space creates a recovery zone designed to give vehicles that exit the freeway an opportunity to come to a stop safely. If ADOT built this stretch of I-10 today, it would be configured the same way, with wide shoulders, rumble strips to catch drivers' attention and a recovery zone in areas where the median is wide enough to offer one, because it is the safest possible design. In this regard, Arizona's highway design is similar to many western states, which have wider medians. Where medians are narrower, ADOT installs median barriers because that is the safest option in those areas."