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"A disaster waiting to happen": Driving dangers highlighted after Matlacha crash

Ever since the crash that killed a woman who was sitting outside of That BBQ Place on Matlacha, people have been talking to Fox 4's Bella Line about safety on Pine Island Road.
"A disaster waiting to happen"; residents say a crash this devastating was destined to happen
Posted at 10:30 PM, Apr 15, 2024

MATLACHA, Fla. — Ever since the crash that killed a woman who was sitting outside of That BBQ Place on Matlacha, people have been talking to Fox 4's Bella Line about safety on Pine Island Road.

"How many more of these situations are gonna happen before someone realizes, 'Oh, that was that was a mistake should have done that,'" said Linda Lee, who has lived on Matlacha for 15 years.

"The infrastructure that's here was built for the traffic that was here 40 or 50 years ago, and not today," said Steve Buechner, who was involved in the deadly crash and is the owner of Cape Coral Kayak on Matlacha.

Some blame a lack of accountability.

"There used to be four police cars around the clock, monitoring the traffic on this road, making sure that nobody went over 35 miles an hour," said Lee.

"People have asked for a stoplight here. People have asked for a roundabout ... some kind of traffic solution to slow the traffic because people are constantly being run off the road by disrespectful drivers here that really don't give a you know what for the pedestrian," said Buechner.

Many Fox 4's Bella Line spoke with Monday night say that every day they see people driving on the sidewalk area and nearly taking out pedestrians. Both Colton Chavez, Cape Coral's Community Correspondent, and Bella Line have witnessed it first-hand.

Fox 4 reached out to the Lee County Sheriff's Office to see if they have any reports on this and they say they are still working to gather that data.

"This is a very high pedestrian traffic area with all the art shops, the park here, all the restaurants..you know...patrons eating outside right next to the road tables outside of the restaurant. So, I mean it's a disaster waiting to happen," said Buechner.