Two seconds could have prevented 2005 accident, civil engineer testifies

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | 9:30 p.m. CDT; updated 10:32 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 23, 2008

A couple more seconds might have prevented a 2005 accident at the intersection of College and Rollins Avenues that resulted in the amputation of a bicyclist’s left leg from the knee down, according to testimony by civil engineer Ronald Hensen.

He was called by the plaintiff's attorney in a personal injury lawsuit filed against the city of Columbia and Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, among others.

“An 'all-red clearance' is when lights turn red in all directions for only a few seconds with the intent to clear the intersection,” said Hensen, a traffic engineering specialist from Colorado.

Hensen said two extra seconds of clearance would have been enough time for the bicyclist, then 19-year-old MU student Krysten Chambrot, to safely exit the intersection. Chambrot is an MU graduate student and an employee of the Columbia Missourian.

“If two seconds had been added, it would have been reasonably safe,” said Hensen.

He added that the policy is, “pretty much universally used.”

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is published by the Federal Highway Administration, advocates such a policy, Hensen said. He also said the state of Missouri uses this manual.


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The transportation commission's attorney, Zachary Cartwright, noted while cross-examining Hensen that manual entries are divided into three categories: 

  • standards, which must be met;
  • guidelines, which should be met; or
  • options, which the manual recommends.

He pointed out that an all-red clearance policy falls under the "option" category.

The standard for traffic signals is to have a yellow signal between green and red changes, and the guideline is the yellow signal's duration should be between three and six seconds. Cartwright said that the College and Rollins intersection meets both of these.

Hensen said the all-red clearance is not listed as a standard because state statutes differ on the legality of entering an intersection when the signal is yellow.

But he agreed that if Chambrot had crossed on a red light, the lack of “all-red clearance” would not have mattered.

Chambrot was first hit by a vehicle driven by Truman Veterans Hospital employee Judy Pope. She was then thrown from her bicycle and hit and dragged by a Columbia Water and Light truck driven by Michael Arens. Pope and Arens are named as defendants in the case.

Plaintiff attorney Donald Schlapprizzi argued that Chambrot entered the intersection on a green light but the signal changed while she was midway through and didn’t allow enough time for her to safely exit.

The defendants claim Chambrot entered the intersection on a red light, basing her decision to cross on the flow of traffic rather than the signal.

Testimony is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. Friday.

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Kirt Brinkley October 24, 2008 | 9:58 a.m.

Good article but testimony is baloney. Anyone who has ever driven in Columbia knows that at least 3 morons are going to run every red light in the city regardless of whether it has been red two seconds or 5 seconds. When your light turns green, count to 3 before you go to allow the 3 morons to clear.

(Report Comment)
M L October 24, 2008 | 11:38 a.m.

That works if you are car and can get across the intersection quickly, but not so well when you are a bike and need the full length of the green to get mostly across the street.

(Report Comment)
Jessica Shaner October 24, 2008 | 11:46 a.m.

No kidding. Read the story you idiot. The girl was on a bike - not in a car.
Now who is the moron?

(Report Comment)
Mary Anderson October 24, 2008 | 4:36 p.m.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda! Krysten ran a red light and rather she would have had two more seconds or not is irrelevant! I thought that us bicyclist were to obey the laws of the road here in Columbia, MO. USA just as if we were in, or on a motorized vehicle? Just as everyone here in Missouri knows their ABC's, we also know that a Green Light=Go, Yellow=Yield, not hurry before the Red light which we all know means STOP! Now! Being on a bike just as being in a vehicle we are in control of that vehicle, bike, what ever! Let's grab at straws and get money where ever we can get it? Is that not the American way? Who will pay for this, us good people of Columbia, Missouri? I think that we all know that when on a bicycle we need to be even more aware and safer with what is going on around us?

(Report Comment)
Mary Anderson October 24, 2008 | 5:44 p.m.

Jessica Shaner calling people idiots and morons is not going to change the fact that Krysten ran a red light! Out of all the people involved in this case there are only three people who think other wise? If you go back and look at Mr. Laye's response you will see that by looking in the mirror you will find the idiot or moron who cannot READ? Who are you Krysten's friend, relative or fellow employee? Wishing apon a falling star or calling people names is not going to help anyone! Grow up!

(Report Comment)
Mary Anderson October 24, 2008 | 6:11 p.m.

Anyone want the truth about this very tragic accident you should READ the Columbia Tribune!

(Report Comment)
Jessica Shaner October 28, 2008 | 4:34 p.m.

Um excuse me "Mary Anderson", but let's take a second here to sit back, relax, and take a deep breath ok? Everything is going to be just fine. Are you ok now?? you sure?? let's just start off by saying to you really think you are going to get straight answers from the "Columbia Tribune"??? If you want the truth about this tragic event do your own investigating into how many intersections have the "all clear" at their intersection, and then remember that THIS intersection in Columbia DOES NOT.. Wanna know why? Because they do not CARE and didn't want to spend the extra money on having it redone. An "all clear" is when all lights stay red for a couple seconds to clear the intersection in case...oh I don't know...someone is still out in the intersection when someone's light turns green. If Columbia cared enough about their people they would have had this done to the intersection and Krysten would have had enough time to get across the intersection and therefore would still have her leg and her quality of life. But they don't care so she does not. Case closed. Peace out "Mary Anderson"...and nice try loser.
Oh and FYI - I have never in my life known Krysten in any way shape or form. I am only posting this because of how disgusted I was to find out that this had to happen because of Columbia's carelessness.

(Report Comment)
Jason Saey October 28, 2008 | 4:53 p.m.

Ya no kidding. Let's remember that Krysten entered the intersection on a GREEN light FOR HER, and then half way through her crossing the intersection she LOST her green! So common sense will tell anyone reading this that an "all clear" WOULD HAVE AVOIDED ALL OF THIS!! HELLO!!! WHAT don't people get about this??? It's common sense!!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 28, 2008 | 5:29 p.m.

One thing that would help that intersection is a traffic case study to be done on it. Go!

(Report Comment)
Patty Douglas October 28, 2008 | 5:31 p.m.

Oh ya, great idea Mary Anderson. Let's have everyone get their information from the completely BIASED Columbia Tribune. There's a reliable source. Do people sue for ridiculous reasons? Yes of course. Is Krysten and her family sueing for ridiculous reasons? No, absolutely not. Columbia needs to get with the times, buck up, and have their intersections safe like every other school town in the United States. It is very unfortunate and a tragedy that this poor girl has to suffer in order for Columbia to care enough to update their intersections. Another typical case of "It's all about the money". It takes someone getting hurt before anyone wants to buck up. Very sad situation.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Kerobe October 28, 2008 | 5:36 p.m.

Wow, no kidding. Read the title of this article. "Two seconds could have prevented 2005 accident, civil engineer testifies."
I read about how like every school town you can think of has this "all red clearance" at their intersections. Why would Columbia not have this??

(Report Comment)
Mary Anderson October 29, 2008 | 7:15 p.m.

I want to say thanks for some of the remarks here and helping me look at and see things a little different than before. I would also like to apologize for my anger and mistakes I may have made to everyone including the Columbia Missourian if need be. I am involved with this case and cannot go into details as to how. I also have an immediate family member who was mowed down by a repeat DWI Offender and have to respect their privacy. The reason they could not go after everyone as in Krysten's case is because it was clear that the DWI Offender was at fault! It is a fact that Krysten broke the law by Jay Walking and crossing on a red light! Go figure? We could not go after the city, town or state? You know maybe the double yellow line the drunk had was not bright enough. It is clear that the doubled yellow line was not curved enough for this guy! What about a barricade down the middle of the road to keep the accident from happening? Why not the town or state and even our own country at fault for allowing drunks, let alone a repeat offenders to have the privilege to drive again without enough insurance for their victims. Maybe the police did a better job reporting the accident who knows? That is all I can say about that. My family member is a victim, and I am sorry, but in my opinion Krysten is not. As we all can see here everyone has an opinion and can express it with out having to call people morons and idiots directly as Jessica Shaner has. Bet she has two legs and I bet I can guess what class she may be in also. What I meant about the Missourian was that Krysten is an MU graduate student of journalism and an employee of the Columbia Missourian? Do you think that you will get an unbiased report from them. It seemed, I think that they waited until after I made remarks about what the Tribune reported awhile back before the Missourian made any statements that contradicted anything in Krystens favor? Look and see how much the Tribune has reported on this case compared to the Missourian? I also maybe know why this intersection does not have this woulda, coulda, shoulda two seconds! It would and should not mater? Look all up and down that street when the students are running around! I was always told that you were only to cross the street at a cross walk otherwise it is against the law and called jay walking? Not only that you could get ran over? I am sorry here, but I do not think that Columbia is in control of my feet when I walk, or my bicycle when I ride, or my car when I drive? You are right about people needing to take responsibility when they are at fault! Krysten you are the only one who said that there was a red light so, I guess that everyone else involved here who said otherwise will soon receive their apologies and compensation for the damages they suffered because of this horrible accident? These debates will go on and Jessica Shaner and I think that you are very wrong that us people of Columbia just do not care.

(Report Comment)
Tom Taylor October 29, 2008 | 7:45 p.m.

Jason Saey lets see if the Missourian corrects your statement that I think maybe incorrect from what I have read in all the other articles here? If everyone thinks that Columbia does not care then why are they not going to school at all the other places that have a two second delay? Ignorance of the law is no excuse? What about MU who you are paying to go to school? I maybe wrong here but these students at this light are crossing from MU property to go to MU property or to fraternity houses? Thank you Tom T.

(Report Comment)
Jessica Shaner October 30, 2008 | 1:07 p.m.

I rest my case!!! Thank you for proving my point!!! haha

(Report Comment)
Mary Anderson November 1, 2008 | 2:36 p.m.

Jessica it must be nice to be able to walk through life blaming others for your mistakes and wrongs. Then to find yourself above the rest of us idiots, morons and losers up there on that pedestal looking down. There are plenty of words that I am sure that I could use to describe someone such as yourself, but will refrain from that type of behavior. I learned to communicate without having to do so. Most people do not need "two seconds" because they try to obey the laws and yes, we do make mistakes without blaming others for them! We are glad that you have rested your case and that we have somehow proved your point? Which must be, do unto others and then blame them for it? Oh, and to also categorize the rest of us as morons, idiots and losers for doing so? Great point!

(Report Comment)

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