Toll Road Murders Women

The 241 toll road is a real lady-killer.

On May 16, the 241 killed 65-year-old Nancy Donahue-Reddish, a grandmother two weeks into her retirement. She was on her way to Hemet to care for her ailing father when Javier Nelso lost control of his car, drove across the median and deprived six kids of Grandma. But that wasn't enough.

On May 24 (less than two weeks later), the 241 killed two women when one, somehow travelling north in a southbound lane, drove her red Cadillac head-on into a Jeep Cherokee. Still the road's bloodlust burned, unquenched.

This Halloween the 241 struck again. On Tuesday afternoon it killed an 18-year old woman, Nicole Catsouras, driving a Porsche 911 southbound on the 241. She clipped a car she was trying to pass at over 100 mph, lost control of the Porsche and collided with a not-so-phantom tollbooth - in a northbound lane. How? Like Mr. Nelso, she drove across the median.

"But Alex," you might ask, "how is it physically possible to drive across a median? Surely one drives into a median!" Fool. You're thinking of a barrier. Those are the concrete wall-thingies you see on all the freeways.

Here in Orange County we don't get barriers on our toll roads; just medians. The term "median" refers to the space between opposing lanes of traffic. The Transportation Corridor Agencies would rather spend their dollars on a controversial toll road extension, said extension's resultant lawsuits and obnoxious ads on cable television than basic steps to safeguard their customers. Like barriers.

Without barriers, cars that lose control drift into oncoming traffic. Without barriers, cars that lose control do not stop immediately but rather pick up speed and, I don't know, crash into tollbooths or something. Without barriers, we stand to lose even more women.

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