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

April 2, 2009 | 11:51 am

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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