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Gov. DeWine visits East Cleveland to offer condolences to family of woman struck and killed by car

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 18:19:51-05

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine visited East Cleveland Tuesday to offer his personal condolences to the family of a woman hit and killed at an intersection where a traffic light had recently been removed.

As part of his visit, Gov. DeWine also met with East Cleveland city officials, including Mayor Brandon King, to help foster greater cooperation and communication between the state and the cash-strapped city to help further along economic development opportunities.

On Dec. 30, Terra Nolden, 36, was struck by a vehicle and killed after getting off of the bus at the intersection of Euclid and Strathmore avenues. In the days that followed, Nolden’s family and community activists rallied and called for the installation of a new traffic light at the intersection. According to state officials, the previous traffic light at the intersection was malfunctioning and functionally obsolete. With the city’s authorization, ODOT crews removed the traffic light on Nov. 22.

Instead, stop signs were installed, officials said. However, residents said the stop signs were difficult to see because the street lights in the area are either burned out or inoperable.

ODOT began managing the project, which normally would be undertaken by East Cleveland, because of the city’s financial challenges and the city’s inability to obtain federal funding. The comprehensive safety and traffic signal upgrade project was born out of a 2012 study which found nearly three dozen of the East Cleveland’s traffic lights were not eligible for federal funding.

After Nolden was killed, Gov. DeWine said he directed ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks to immediately install a temporary traffic light at the intersection. Work on the temporary light was completed this week.

“When you talk to family members you really get an idea of the great tragedy,” Gov. DeWine said. “We’re going to try to work together and figure out how to make this street safer, in addition to economic development opportunities.”

Before making his public statements, Gov. DeWine personally offered his condolences to Nolden’s brother, Brutell Dandridge. The brief but emotional conversation was impactful, Dandridge said.

“For him to take out his time to come here and speak with me for a moment and give his condolences and give me a hug, it reassured me that the governor of our state does care,” Dandridge said.

Although Gov. DeWine and been planning on visiting the city and meeting with East Cleveland city officials, he said the tragedy further expedited the visit. The governor will also visit multiple sites with Mayor King to highlight available properties that could be ready for economic development opportunities.

No specifics were released but Gov. DeWine pledged greater cooperation and collaboration between the state, Jobs Ohio and East Cleveland. Mayor King also hinted at a large project or economic development opportunity that may be on the horizon.

“We can’t come here and have any great miracles. I can’t come in here and say, ‘look, all the economic challenges of East Cleveland are going to go away overnight,’” Gov. DeWine said. “As the governor of the state… I represent all Ohioans.”

In addition to installing the temporary traffic light at Euclid and Strathmore avenues, Gov. DeWine said another temporary traffic light near the intersection of Euclid and Marloes avenues will also be installed in the coming days. As for the street lights, Mayor King said Camber Energy Incorporated, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, will be conducting surveys over the coming days to diagnose what the problem is.