Wednesday crash brings up safety concerns at Clear Lake intersection

Car accident at S. 8th St. and 27th Ave. S. in Clear Lake marks the 6th such incident since 2009

Posted: Feb 14, 2020 2:03 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 6:30 AM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - Three people were hospitalized following a two-vehicle crash earlier this week.

The crash happened around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of South 8th Street and 27th Avenue South, right on the southern limits of Clear Lake.

19 year-old Brandi Pals was driving southbound on 8th Street when her vehicle struck a coach bus driven by 69 year-old Melferd Torkelson, who was driving eastbound and failed to stop at the stop sign there. Pals and Torkelson, along with 32 year-old Shaina Brunsvold, were transported to MercyOne for treatment of their injuries; Pals would later be transported to Mayo Clinic.

Wednesday's crash was not the first time an accident happened at that intersection; records from Iowa DOT's ICAT (Iowa Crash Analysis Tool) shows 5 other accidents there since 2009.

David Okerlund lives nearby, and was coming home at the time of the accident. He and his wife have seen some close calls before at an intersection that sees heavy traffic.

"There's a lot of traffic north and south bound, and east-west. You have a lot of different people that are using that intersection, not to mention quite a few deer in the early morning. I see them all the time."

While there are rumble strips and two stop signs on 27th Avenue, he feels that more safety features could be implemented.

"A high traffic intersection sign - even that would make people hesitate a little bit, to be more attuned. I don't think they're going to put a stoplight there, but a 'Caution - high traffic' sign...might save somebody's life."

Iowa State Patrol, Clear Lake Police, Cerro Gordo County Sheriff's Office, and both the Mason City and Clear Lake Fire Departments responded to the scene.

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