A 32-year-old woman from Holtville was injured this week in a crash that also involved a car that a Border Patrol agent was driving, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The May 5, 2012 collision occurred at the same intersection in Imperial County where, three years earlier, an on-duty federal agent struck a car, killing three women in that crash.

Self standing in front of a stop sign at night...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Union-Tribune reports that according to the Imperial Valley Press, the woman in Tuesday’s crash was transported to El Centro hospital and treated for a fractured neck. At the time of the accident, the victim had been driving on Heber Road when a Border Patrol agent, who was traveling northbound on Bowker Road, hit her in the intersection. The collision sent the victim’s car into a canal nearby, The Union-Tribune reports.

As the news story explains, Bowker Road has a stop sign, but Heber Road does not. A report from the California Highway Patrol said witnesses stated that the Border Patrol agent did not come to a complete stop at the intersection, The Union-Tribune’s news story says.

At the same intersection, in December of 2009, Cole Dotson, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, ran the stop sign at Bowker Road and hit a van. That crash killed three women.

The Union-Tribune reports that Dotson, part of a surveillance team, had been following a suspected drug smuggler, and just before the crash he had hit speeds of 100 miles per hour. The Imperial County district attorney charged Dotson with vehicular manslaughter, but a federal judge in San Diego dismissed those charges last month. The judge said that as a federal agent, Dotson is immune from criminal charges that arise from actions he took in the line of duty, The Union-Tribune’s news story says. In February, the federal government agreed to settle a lawsuit with the three women’s family members for $11 million.

Stop signs were first used in Michigan in 1915 as a way to enforce drivers to stop at a school crosswalk. The first stop sign was actually black letters on a black background. It was not until several years later that stop signs became regulated and used for government purposes.

In the United States, stop signs are often used at four-way intersections to indicate to drivers that another vehicle may be approaching. However, in other countries throughout the world, stop signs are rarely used and the government installs yield or give-way signs instead. According to research, stop signs do not actually affect the safety of an intersection any more than a yield sign.

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