Prattville Family Grieves What It Calls A "Needless" Death On Highway 14

A Prattville family will say goodbye to a mother of nine children Thursday, a woman they say died much too soon and for no good reason.

Seventy-four year old Mary Farr drove her Olds Cutlass into the path of an oncoming truck on Highway 14 last Friday.

She died Sunday morning.

Her family says they wouldn't have to face this sad day if the city made just one simple change to the road.

It isn't very far from a convenience store parking lot to the intersection of Alabama 14 and Old Farm Lane, but it's an extremely tough walk for Ruth Patty.

"They knew about this three years ago, and now my mom has died," she said.

Patty and her eight brothers and sisters are hours from burying their mother, Mary Farr, who died after she drove into the path of a pickup truck last week.

A long time lover of antique cars, the older woman complained about this very intersection hours before her death.

"She'd be like, look at all the traffic out here. We need a traffic light," said Patty.

Prattville Police say it's the third accident in four months at the same spot, a place that's seen a huge increase in traffic simply because of more homes, more apartment complexes, and more businesses on this spur from Cobbs Ford Road.

The increased traffic also means drivers wait a long time to pull out on the highway.

"I've sat there many times myself," said Ruth Patty.  "You have to try to hit the right gap to rush out there really quick."

Patty thinks the answer to the problem is a red light.  She says she met Tuesday with Mayor Jim Byard about the problem.

His response didn't please her.

"It's going to be two to five years and it's going to be twenty million dollars," she recalled him saying.  "Twenty million dollars doesn't cover the cost of my mother's life.

So now, she's asking everyone to help build momentum for at least a temporary red light at this intersection.

"How many people are going to die before they do something?," she asked.

Patty says it's the only way she can honor her mother's memory.

We asked the Prattville city engineer for an interview Wednesday afternoon.   He was not available to talk with us.

But his assistant said before anyone could put a new red light on Highway 14, both the city and the state would have to do traffic studies and complete a lot of paperwork.

She couldn't say what kind of timetable or cost that would involve.