The call for a traffic light at Overcreek Way and Texas Highway 36 is getting louder as 88-year-old Sealy resident Josephine Bear is speaking out about the need for a change and is ready to take her plea to the Texas Department of Transportation.
The area is well-traveled, and motorists must be careful when they make a left turn onto Highway 36, Bear said.
The intersection proved costly for Bear because she was a victim of an accident on Sept. 18, 1961.
“A man and a wife [were] coming from north Texas, San Angelo, and I was on the Y (across from CVS) trying to go on Highway 90, and they ran into me,” she said.
Bear was knocked unconscious and fell onto the street.
“I laid there like a frog,” she said.
An ambulance picked her up and medics had to call her husband, who didn’t have a car, while he was at work.
“It was a tragic, horrible accident,” she said.
Bear and her family were affected by the incident, and it took her a while to stop dreaming about the crash.
“Why should we put somebody else through that when we can put a light there and slow down the traffic?” Bear said.
She sustained a head injury from the crash and was taken to Sealy Hospital where they asked her questions about the incident.
“I think that brought me down,” she said.
She told the doctor that she had sawdust in her hair.
“He probably had it in his mind to send me to Galveston (for medical treatment),” she said.
The diagnosis was a concussion.
“It took a year to get over it,” she said.
It stayed with her for a long time, and she prayed to God to remain on earth so she could raise her daughters.
“It hangs with you,” Bear said. “I’m surprised at myself now that I remember some of the things that happened.”
Her children Patricia and Cheryl were aware that their mom was hurt.
“I think it traumatized them,” she said. “My oldest daughter Patricia told me much later that the superintendent of the school spoke to the girls out of the classroom, put her arms around her and said she had bad news.”
Making a difference
Bear’s political activity began with trips to the doctor with her husband James who needed to see the eye doctor in Cypress and couldn’t drive.
“I had a disabled placard to hang on my mirror,” Bear said.
During their travels, they found a Whataburger in Cypress with two handicapped parking spaces marked on the pavement.
“A man in a pick-up where I was going to park speeded up and pulled right in front of me,” she said.
The couple had breakfast, and the manager approached them and asked about their service.
Bear told him the service was great, but she didn’t like what happened to them in the parking lot.
“I don’t appreciate it when people do this,” Bear said. “He looked at me and said he'd take care of it.”
The couple returned three weeks ago, and there were handicap signs installed.
“Talk and say what you feel, don’t criticize, be nice about it and you’ll get places,” she said.
That dials her straight onto Highway 36.
“We’re crowded here,” she said. “There is so much danger right there on Highway 36 because we have big trucks that come through here.”
Bear said trucks honk at her because she drives slow.
“I drive careful like I’m supposed to,” she said.
Data from the Sealy Police Department shows seven crashes at Highway 36 and Schmidt Road and three traffic hazards( a broken down auto)since May 2015.
Highway 36 and Interstate 10 had 51 car wrecks and seven traffic hazards during the same time frame.
Highway 36 and Main Street had five crashes and one hazard.
FM 2187 and Highway 36 had one crash and two traffic hazards in the same period.
Texas Department of Transportation
TxDOT Public Information Officer Cari Hensley told The Sealy News that a traffic signal at Overcreek Way is not imminent.
“This would be inefficient since that intersection is so close to the traffic signal at Schmidt Road,” she said. “Drivers can exit Walmart onto Schmidt Road and use that signal for a protected left turn.”