SACRAMENTO, CA—The California Department Of Transportation (Caltrans) released a study Monday that focused on a problematic intersection in Livermore, CA estimated to be nine times more likely to have extremely cool, awesome, or just plain unbelievable accidents than anywhere else in the state.
"Law enforcement and EMT crews have long been aware of the location's reputation for hosting dozens of the most wicked, twisted, and sick smashups around," said Officer Bill Metz of the Livermore Police Department, which assisted Caltrans in compiling data for the study. "The traffic patterns, poor signage, pavement quality, and sharp changes in gradient combine to make this the single sweetest place to watch a traffic accident."
In the past two years alone, Metz has been called to the scene of 27 accidents, 22 of which were bad as hell, at the intersection at east-west-running McKinley Boulevard and north-south-bound Grove Street where the two roads converge with a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway crossing and Ash St., which cuts diagonally across all three.
The study also revealed that McKinley and Grove traffic-control camera footage is three times as likely to show up on YouTube, where it is commonly accompanied by nü-metal music and given five-star ratings by viewers.
"Dude, there was this one time I was just measuring the crosswalks, and a Dr. Pepper truck T-boned these two Minis at once that were crossing from opposite directions?" Alameda County Highway Department surveyor Carlos Fonseca said. "It was sick—they were both spinning around like goddamn Siamese-twin Linda Blairs."
The intersection first came to attention in 2003 when a convertible carrying three chicks in their mid-20s lost control on McKinley, flew airborne into crossing traffic, was struck hard-core at an oblique angle by a Cadillac Escalade, caught a 920 flatspin-into-nosegrind over the roofs of oncoming traffic, and finally hooked a digger and came to rest on the railroad tracks, at which point it was struck by a freight train and fucking exploded.
"Those poor honeys didn't have a chance," said Metz, who was on the scene.
In 117 individual accident reports from the intersection, a full 45 were officially classified by investigators as "off the hook," 17 were termed "spec-fucking-tacular," and seven fell into the rarified category of "full-blown insane flying carnage." The intersection is also believed to be responsible for more what-a-way-to-go-style reactions than any other traffic junction, or possibly any potential crash scene, west of the Mississippi River.
"Part of the reason accidents here are so wicked brutal are the awesome sightlines—awesome for observers, that is, but crap for motorists," said Metz, who added that low-hanging branches that block drivers' vision also contribute to some massive flameouts. "Best part is that two of the streets leading into the intersection have low rises that drop off sharply just before the stop-lines, so if you're driving over 50, you can catch some nasty air there."
After several crashes were featured on nationwide newscasts and Spike TV's Best Of The Best Of Fantastic Wrecks, public outcry inspired the bureau to take action.
"We'll be adding a little height to the rises for more ramp effect and raising the curbs a bit for better rebound, so the cars stay in the intersection where the action is," Caltrans spokesman Fred Wendell said. "And we'll be adding more cameras in this intersection, switching the ones we already have to high-resolution color, and making sure the area is shot from at least three angles at all times and the footage saved to disk. This intersection is a fucking bomb waiting to go off, but it could still be better."