Antioch neighbors describe this road as a 'death trap,' data reveals the reality

Neighbors say scenes with overturned vehicles are nothing new, describing cars often speeding in excess of 80 to 100 mph.

ByStephanie Sierra and Lindsey Feingold KGO logo
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Antioch neighbors describe this stretch of road as a 'death trap'
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The ABC7 I-Team digs into the data to look into the reality of deadly accidents along the "death trap" of James Donlon Boulevard in Antioch.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- At least six people have died and more than 100 others have been injured since 2015 in accidents along a dangerous stretch of road in Antioch some describe as a "death trap."

The latest fatal crash along James Donlon Boulevard -- one of the city's main thoroughfares -- happened last Sunday. One man died and two others were injured in the crash when two cars collided near the Silverado trail.

It was a close call for Ryan Kirstein.

"Ugh, if it wasn't for the tree, it'd be in my backyard and in my swimming pool," Kirstein said.

VIDEO: 1 dead after fiery Antioch crash likely caused by street racing, neighbors say

Neighbors say scenes with overturned vehicles are nothing new. People describe cars often speeding in excess of 80 to 100 miles per hour.

A dangerous reality

According to an ABC7 News I-Team analysis of data from the California Highway Patrol's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, a dozen of the people injured were left with serious injuries.

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"They race down this hill," said Dave Velasquez, an Antioch resident who's witnessed two crashes go right through his own property. "One's been through my house and one through my backyard."

Velasquez said it's getting worse.

MORE: 3 students injured after being hit by car walking home from school in Antioch, officials say

The Problem Areas

Accidents on James Donlon Blvd. happen the most frequently in three specific intersections: Lone Tree Way, Somersville Rd., and Contra Loma Blvd. Each street had more than 20 accidents in recent years. That's a higher number of accidents than most intersections across the city.

Pedro Ramirez said his daughter almost got hit by a car.

"It was so so scary," said Ramirez. "He was speeding in and he didn't give the right of way."

Residents asked for the speed limit to be reduced to 45 miles per hour, but say the signs still haven't been changed. Speed reductions alone may not be enough to fully address the issue -- 22 recent collisions on James Donlon Blvd. involved alcohol and 29 collisions were reported as hit and runs. Neighbors say there should be a call for more resources and heightened enforcement.

MORE: Survivors of deadly Antioch crash return to site one year later

So, what is the city doing about it?

"We've talked to the cops many times and nothing is getting done," said Velasquez.

The I-Team spoke with Antioch Mayor Pro-tem Mike Barbanica, a former police officer. He explained city council had an open session to discuss the issue and demanded answers from the city's traffic engineering department.

"We need a plan," Barbanica said. "This is not a new problem."

MORE: 2 killed, 4 hurt after SUV slams into tree in Antioch

The vice mayor wants a number of proposed solutions to address reckless driving in these areas from Antioch's traffic engineering department. The report is expected within the first quarter of next year.

"I can't speak for past council and what they did or didn't do, I can only speak for what we're doing on this council," said Barbanica. "It is a priority."

James Donlon Blvd. is one of the streets with the highest number of accidents since 2015, but it isn't at the top of the list. Lone Tree Way had around 550 accidents during the past seven years.

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"Please do something," Velasquez said. "So we can be safe with our kids."

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