Fort Worth

Fort Worth says these traffic signals make turning safer. She says they're deadly

An undated photo of Luis Talamantes, middle, and his wife Kelly, left, with their three children.
An undated photo of Luis Talamantes, middle, and his wife Kelly, left, with their three children.

Even as Fort Worth touts the safety of flashing yellow turn signal arrows at local intersections, a woman is suing the city, saying they led to her husband's death in 2017.

Kelly Talamantes' husband, Luis, died last April when his motorcycle collided with a car turning left at a flashing yellow arrow at the intersection of Heritage Trace Parkway and North Beach Street. The mother of three was also seriously injured and had her left leg amputated above the knee.

In January, she filed a lawsuit against the city in Tarrant County District Court accusing the city of failing to act despite knowing that the arrow had led to numerous accidents at the intersection. The suit seeks the highest monetary relief allowed by the law.

But Talamantes' attorney, Sadat Montgomery, said it's not only about compensation.

"She absolutely is interested and concerned about the well-being of other individuals in the future, and people not understanding how these lights work," Montgomery said. "She doesn't want this to happen to anybody else."

The lawsuit is still in pending status, according to Tarrant County District Court records.

The city created a website last May to inform the public about flashing yellow arrows which states, among other claims, that the signals make turning safer.

"Even though all drivers know that they must yield to oncoming traffic unless they have a protected green arrow, seeing green means many drivers just hit the gas," the site reads. "The flashing yellow light sends a clear signal to be careful."

But Montgomery questioned whether city leaders installed the lights before properly informing the public as to how to respond to them.

"I think there's a question of whether they did their due diligence, especially as far as informing the public," he said. "You can't just throw up lights one day and have people with no idea what it means."

The city's informational site reads, "When the yellow arrow is flashing, drivers are allowed to turn, but must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Enter the intersection cautiously and proceed when there is enough space to turn safely."

Fort Worth city councilman Cary Moon told WFAA he believes line of sight issues were to blame for the high volume of accidents at the intersection. The flashing yellow arrow at Heritage Trace and Beach was removed.

Talamantes could not be reached for comment.

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Stephen English: 817-390-7330, @sbenglish74
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