COEUR d'ALENE - Serious injuries weren't reported following a three-car accident at Third Street and Harrison Avenue - the third wreck in as many months at the intersection.
But the city's engineering department said safety improvements at the crossroads are on their way.
"It's just too nerve-racking with all the accidents happening," said Stan Orser, manager of Action Printers, the commercial printing business whose front window was taken out from a December accident at the intersection, and who heard Friday's crash from his office. "That was really a loud one."
The accident occurred shortly before 11 a.m. when a silver SUV traveling westbound on Harrison Avenue apparently ran a red light and struck a maroon van that was heading south on Third Street, investigating police officers said at the scene.
Though the investigation report wasn't completed Friday, officers at the scene said the impact of that collision caused the cars to hit a green Subaru, which was waiting at a red light facing east on Harrison Avenue, waiting to turn right on the one-way Third Street.
"I just had time to brace myself," said Diane Barron, the driver of the green Subaru, who described the accident as happening quickly. "I didn't have time to think. It was going to happen."
All three vehicles had to be towed from the scene. The driver of the SUV declined to be interviewed. Barbara Wiswall, who was driving the van, was going to the hospital after the wreck after medical staff said she could have suffered bruised or broken ribs.
"I just wish people would watch the lights, that's what they're there for. It would be different if it was an uncontrolled intersection," she said, holding an un-scratched lottery ticket in her hand. "I thought it was going to be my lucky day."
Nine reported accidents have taken place at the intersection since January 2012, according to police records.
City Engineer Gordon Dobler said Friday the city will upgrade the signals at the intersection, and realign traffic lanes through Third Street into more of a straight line. While no one common factor has been the cause of the accidents in the reports, he said the signals are currently on wires and run on a timer. The new lights will be on poles, with 12 inch bulbs instead of 8, and run on sensory timers that detect traffic patterns. The city will also realign the signals at Third and Fourth streets so Harrison Avenue drivers won't look past one and see the other, which is what could be occurring now, he said.
"It'll be a lot of little changes that will make a difference," Dobler said of the work that should cost less than $100,000 and be completed by the end of the summer.
In December, a multiple vehicle accident at the intersection caused a white Jeep Cherokee to cascade through a front window at Action Printers, 300 E. Harrison Ave. Six years ago, another car drove into the same corner and destroyed another support beam and window. No employees were injured in either wreck. On Jan. 27, a two-vehicle wreck occurred at the intersection, also without injuries.
Orser, the business's manager, said the company is going to construct a rock wall in front of the business, to act as a buffer from the street. The business has had its new window in for a week.
Police said two citations were issued from Friday's wreck to two different drivers: Inattentive driving and no proof of insurance. The accident report won't be available until next week, the police department records division said.