ASSUMPTION, Ill. (WCIA) — A central Illinois community is still grieving after a deadly crash. Now, they’re coming together to ask for change. State leaders gathered with people in Assumption on Monday to talk about what needs to be done.

Community members said accidents happen at the Route 51 and Leafland Street intersection too often. Many want a stop light and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) said he is asking the Illinois Department of Transportation to add safety measures.

Bruce Kettelkamp, Christian County Sheriff, said they have responded to a lot of accidents at that intersection.

“There’s something about this intersection that’s causing a lot of accidents, a lot of crashes,” Kettlekamp said. “We want them to look at it.”

IDOT’s 10-year crash report from 2012-2022 reports there have been 29 car crashes there, one of which was deadly. Those statistics rose by one with the deadly July 12 crash that killed Connor Rowcliff and Keegan Virden, who were driving to Central A&M High School with two others.

Davis is asking IDOT to help make the roads safer. 

“They can invest your fuel tax dollars,” he said. “They can invest money as part of the state’s transportation plan.”

Other state officials, including State Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville), are doing the same.

“The safety of our roads is very important,” Bourne said. “We came together and passed the infrastructure bill because we knew that our roads needed to be improved and we knew there were critical projects in downstate that needed attention.”

IDOT said its is are going to start making short-term improvements to the intersection such as adding flashing lights to the crossroad signs. IDOT also requested to start a Road Safety Assessment (RSA) research program. With the RSA program, its will research the frequency of crashes, crash patterns, the roadway surface, weather conditions and lighting conditions. After collecting data, they will be able to make long-term decisions about how to change the intersection. 

Assumption Mayor Derek Page is confident it can happen because he’s seen change in other parts of the state. 

“Traffic lights at four-ways, you’ve got it in Clinton,” Page said. “You go north of Clinton in McLean County, they have flashing beacons when traffic is approaching no matter what direction.”

Sue Burgess, an alderman in Assumption, said they have to focus on what they change, such as the traffic flow. She thinks the sun’s glare made it difficult to see the morning of the deadly crash.