This Milwaukee intersection is the worst in the entire state

35th and Capitol the worst intersection in WI
Posted at 2:27 PM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 10:11:31-04

An intersection on Milwaukee's north side has been named the worst in the entire state, and it comes as no surprise to Milwaukee-area drivers.

35th and Capitol is home to more crashes than anywhere else in the last five years, according to new numbers. Of the 136 accidents at the intersection between 2010 and 2015, 104 resulted in injuries. 

Just last October, a mother and her 11-month-old daughter were killed when a driver blew a red light. That driver fled the scene before he was caught by police later at the hospital. 

It goes to a bigger problem facing the entire country. Hit and run crashes are higher than they've ever been. AAA says fatal hit and run crashes have increased 60 percent since 2009. Hit and runs are so frequent, AAA says there is more than one per minute. 

Milwaukee is proof of the increase, despite having some of the harshest penalties in surrounding states. During a meeting with Public Safety and Health Committee, Assistant Chief Michael Brunson spoke about the increasing problem with hit and runs in the city. 

"Hit and run crashes, it's an issue in our city," Brunson said. "We've seen the increase over the years and it's something we believe is not acceptable."

Brunson says it's an issue facing both residents and the city itself. In the last five years, the city has encountered six million dollars in damages from hit and run drivers. This involves light poles, traffic signals and a number of other city owned items like controller cabinets. 

"We will make sure there are consequences for individuals who engage int his type of behavior," Brunson said. "Motorcycle officers assigned to districts to investigate accidents, as they're very good at. Also, to follow up on hit and run incidents so we can find individuals quicker and bring them to justice."

Brunson says a new initiative will be rolled out Monday. 

Hit and run offenders face some of the stiffest punishment in the area. If caught, they could face fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail. But for crashes like the one that killed a mother and her daughter last October at 35th and Capitol, it can be a $100,000 fine and up to 25 years in jail.

"I have a young family," Khalif Rainey, Alderman on the Northwest side said. "A three year old daughter and a wife. When they leave out int he morning, that's the most concerning thing on my mind."

35th and Capitol is right in Alderman Khalif Rainey's district. He frequents the street and it hits home for him that it was named the worst intersection in the state. It's something he knows needs to change. 

"I myself have encountered some scares there," Rainey said. "This is something that needs to be thoroughly, not just examined, but get out there and take some action to address these issues."

It's a problem everyone who travels the area faces. AAA says nearly 65 percent of those killed in hit and run crashes were pedestrians or cyclists. For Charles Compton, he's concerned when he travels the Capitol Drive Corridor. 

"You can't even stand close to the sidewalk to see if the bus is coming," Compton said. "You take a chance to get clipped by a car."

While Rainey says the city can look at ways to improve the intersections, roads and enforcement, he says the greatest tool drivers can use is a mirror. 

"This is potentially an issue we, the citizens of Milwaukee, can address by just the way we drive out here on the streets," Rainey said. "Beyond engineering, beyond traffic control, the way we behave behind the wheel ultimately can address this issue ourselves. Slowing down, taking your time, being cognizant of other drivers on the road and staying off your phone. All these things make an impact and make our streets safer."