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500 CRASHES IN 523 DAYS: Families pushing for change on State Road 82

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jun 07, 2024

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Roadside memorials scatter up and down State Road 82. One of them near Sunshine Boulevard for 18-year-old Jasmine Lamar.

It's where Lehigh Acres Community Correspondent Ella Rhoades met Lamar's cousin and best friend, Princess Feliciano, last week.

"I've lost so many family on this road just to hear I lost another cousin is just crazy," Feliciano said.

All her family and friends are determined to see change on SR 82.

Family member Joshua Negron said, "We feel let down as Lee County residents that you never step up patrol on SR 82."

Information given to Fox 4 from the Lee County Sheriff's Office says from the start 2023 to now, there's been 500 crash reports on SR 82. Deputies also made 2,400 traffic stops on the stretch of road.

That's 523 days and 500 crashes.

LCSO shared the statement below with Fox 4:

As the population grows, our roads will naturally become busier, leading to more reports of careless or reckless driving. To combat this, I recently revamped our Traffic Unit by adding newer vehicles and technology so our deputies can more efficiently enforce traffic laws and ensure drivers make safe choices. We are increasing our presence throughout the county to combat aggressive, reckless, and distracted driving to help prevent tragedies from happening. Our Traffic Unit Deputies work around the clock, watching traffic patterns and working alongside other local and state agencies to keep our roads safe. We make it a priority to ensure the great residents of Lee County have safety and security in their homes, as well as the roadways.

From the beginning of 2023 to now, there has been nearly 500 crash reports taken surrounding State Road 82. Within the same time frame, my amazing deputies have initiated roughly 2,400 traffic stops on State Road 82 in an effort to stop reckless driving. Just within this year, there has been 80,000 new residents in Lee County. Naturally, a growth in population will increase the number of cars on our roadways. To ensure our continuous efforts are efficient, the most important element is having our great citizens of Lee County be safe when traveling on our roadways. As I have stated, I have zero tolerance for aggressive, reckless, and distracted driving. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, alongside our surrounding Law Enforcement partners, will remain focused on lowering the fatalities occurring on State Road 82. It is our number one priority to keep our citizens safe on and off the roadways.
Sheriff Carmine Marceno

In 2026, the Lee County plans to change the intersection at Sunshine and 82 to look like Gunnery and Daniels on 82as a part of the Alico Road Extension.

Benjamin Talkow, who represents Lamar's estate, said there's work to be done.

Find more information on FDOT's SR 82 safety study here.

"I don't want to normalize this for even a second. It's clear," Talkow said. "There is some contributing factor and that's exactly what I'm trying to figure out, and unfortunately, I do need the entire community's help to get information."

A week and half after Lamar's accident, FHP said they arrested a reckless driver on SR 82 for going faster than 130 mph.

Talkow said, "Hopefully, together, we can enact change."

He said to reach out to Friedman and Associates at (954) 466-3249, if you've been in an accident on SR 82, as they gather information from the community.