People call for safer roads after water company employee killed

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville Water Company employee was killed on the job while repairing a fire hydrant in West Louisville on Monday. His co-worker is still in the hospital after a violent crash, at what neighbors say is a notoriously dangerous intersection.

The crash happened just after 1 p.m. Monday at 23nd and Oak streets. It’s the border of Park Hill and California neighborhoods. Jimmy Stone and Chad Harper were both hit by a vehicle. Stone, a 17-year Water Company employee, died from his injuries.

“I was hoping, praying he was going to live,” Angela Banta said. “He died right in front of me and there was blood on my hands and it’s just sad that something like that has to happen to maybe do something around here.”

Banta lives on Oak Street, close to the fire hydrant Stone and Harper were working on when they were hit. She said she rushed to help and stayed by Stone's side while they waited for paramedics to get there.

The hydrant was damaged in another wreck on Saturday. Along with the hydrant, Banta’s car was hit in that accident.

Monday’s was the third wreck she’s seen since her and her son moved in a few months ago.

“Even if I’m not living here as he gets older, even if I was, Joseph won’t be able to go out there," Banta said. "He won’t even be able to leave the porch,”

Police believe the person in the red car may have ignored the stop sign, colliding with the silver car when they crossed at the intersection.

“I can’t even keep track of how many accidents we’ve had around here,” said neighbor Kandace Biggers. “Even in front of my house. I don’t let my kids go outside because I’m scared.”

While neighbors have long known the dangers of the intersection at 23rd and Oak, they hope the crash will lead to action.

“People need to pay attention when they’re driving down Oak Street and stop flying," Charlotte Clark said. “Because now somebody’s family is hurt and you have people in the hospital that don’t have to be here.”

Louisville Water Company said it’s been 30 years since an employee died from anything other than natural causes while working on a job site.

“It’s a tough day at Louisville Water,” said Kelley Dearing Smith, Louisville Water VP Communications. “Like a lot of places you work, we are a family. We are a very close-knit organization so when something like this happens, it’s certainly nothing you plan for.”