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Girl Scout warned of road safety issues in La Canada [UPDATED]

Malia140 When a truck carrying 78,000 pounds of onions lost its brakes and careened into a parking lot at Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway in La Cañada last September, Girl Scout Malia Mailes prepared a report detailing safety problems at the intersection.

The review, prepared for the Girl Scouts Gold Award and put together in a Power Point presentation, was shown to the La Cañada Flintridge City Council in early March and forwarded to Caltrans. Click to view PDF files of the presentation: Part 1 and Part 2. [Updated 6 p.m. Friday: View full presentation as a photo gallery with Malia's talking points.]

Malia found, among other things, a lack of signage, a repeated pattern of accidents at the intersection and a lack of regulation of trucks using the Angeles Crest Highway.

Then on Wednesday night, the 16-year-old La Cañada High School sophomore learned a tough, real-world lesson about unheeded warnings when another truck lost control in the same area, injuring a dozen people and killing a Palmdale man and his daughter.

"I was absolutely devastated, and I was wondering what more I could have done," Malia said. "But now I want to try to see if Caltrans is going to do something to help our community solve this issue. This accident was completely preventable, and if Caltrans had listened to the city's pleas, maybe this accident might not have happened."

When she first raised the safety issues with Caltrans, she was told  the onion truck crash was an isolated incident, she said. Then, after the city raised the issue in letters to the agency, including one forwarding Malia's presentation, they were told the state was investigating the issue.

Mayor Laura Olhasso praised Malia's work but said she was disappointed that there wasn't more response to issues it raised.

"I thought it was impressive, thorough and understood the importance of the issue," Olhasso said. "She provided a valuable service to the city and her community. I would call it bureaucratic indifference."

-- Andrew Blankstein


Photo credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

More Times coverage:

La Cañada seeks truck ban on crash route

Truck driver arrested in deadly La Cañada crash


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Comments () | Archives (6)

Tragic and ludicrous at the same time.
A 16 year-old Girl Scout is smarter and more conscientious than all the big engineering brains at CalTrans? No argument there.
CalTrans has blood on their hands.

"When she first raised the safety issues with Caltrans, she was told the onion truck crash was an isolated incident"

What a tragedy that possibly could have been avoided had Caltrans been doing its job. What makes them have such a high opinion of themselves to ignore this in-depth analysis that should have been done by a Caltrans employee. Heads should roll for this and the person who said this was an "isolated incident" needs to be exposed by the media. Seriously, what an idiot and because of this bureaucrat who thinks he has no accountability to the public, 2 people are dead and others injured.

Well, I'm sure the victim's families are going to sue the state, so that should finally get their attention.

Well maybe the LA Times could stop writing stories about say how much X Celebrity is selling their house for or Michelle Obama's Fashion Skills - and focus on this.

If Newspapers want to survive, then get behind community issues like this, and pound on it until something gets done - it'll make you stand out, rather than become just another AP story stringer.

We've got a satirist taking on the financial debacle, and a 16 year old kid taking on state incompetence. Is this the first the LA Times has heard/remembered about this issue?

I am in shock to hear the news of this father and daughter. the most wonderful people you would ever run across God be with their family at a time like this . i know one thing the city sure owes this family some explanations as to why they put off taking care of things knowing how dangerous that area is. The city and state should be sued . they owe that family a lot of money for the loss of not one but two loved ones , due to the negligence of this city.. I hope they do sue . does not bring back their loved ones, this city has been warned of the problem. they are just as responsible as that driver.

Wow! I was not expecting a 16-year-old girl to do extent research on the dangers of trucks driving on Angeles Crest Hwy. I'm an 18-year old guy attending college with a major in civil engineering, and I have been in contact with the city of Los Angeles Department of Transportation to further improve traffic on city roads, as well as Caltrans to reduce traffic and to further protect other vehicles on freeways and state routes and have brought up several issues using personal experience and hardly any research, but Malia went further with her research and her information is very accurate, but it is ridiculous that Caltrans decided to wait till somebody died, and this did not require "extent study" from Caltrans. All they had to do was look at the books, signage, etc. Again, Caltrans fails.


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