FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Two teenagers have set out on a mission to bring change to Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax County. The road, which they and others have called dangerous, was the site of a deadly crash earlier this month.
"Imagine coming to school and finding out your best friend died with something that could have easily been prevented," said Sophie Powell. She and Meera Jariwala are both 14 years old and both attend South County High School.
Last Tuesday, their classmates Ariana Haftsavar, 16, and Ashlyn Brotemarkle, 16, were killed in crash on Lee Chapel Road. Another teenager was seriously hurt.
"Enough is enough! Please change this road," Bahman Haftsavar, Ariana's father told WUSA9.
Powell and Jariwala told WUSA9 the loss of two teenagers has impacted their entire community.
So, they created an online petition calling for Fairfax County to make changes to Lee Chapel Road. As of Tuesday night, the petition had more than 11,000 signatures.
"It's definitely a road that I don't want to take when I'm learning to drive. But sometimes, that road is the only way to get to a point," said Jariwala.
"It's something that could have easily been prevented and this isn't the first time it's happened. It's happened in the past," said Powell.
Our research found that since 2013 there had been more than 202 crashes on Lee Chapel Road, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles data.
"We need to get together and get this road fixed," said Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity.
He told WUSA9 that his office has been trying to get Lee Chapel Road changed since 2015, after a previous deadly crash.
On Jan. 16, Herrity tweeted out that VDOT had made an interim improvement.
"The interim improvement was to put in optical speed bars which encourages drivers to slow down," he said.
He said he also brought attention to the road that he described as dangerous in 2017. He told WUSA9 funding was not sufficient at that time, and it remained on the unfunded priority list.
But now, he has vowed to ensure Lee Chapel Road is made safer. Some of the changes he hopes to get made include taking out the hills and curves, and eventually widening the roadway.
"I'm committed to making sure we address the issues of this road. I started this in 2015, tried again in 2017, and with the community's help, we'll get it done this time," Herrity said.
Jariwala and Powell told WUSA9 they plan to hold him to that commitment.
"We're not going to back down. We need to get the change," Powell said.
"We don't plan to stop backing down from the situation until we do get the change," Jariwala said.
To read more about the petition click here.
A family friend has created a GoFundMe Page to help the family of Ariana with funeral costs.
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