Family Adopts Road Where Teen Died in Crash

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OLD FORGE -- It was almost a year ago that an 18-year-old woman from Lackawanna County was killed in a crash.

Now her family has found a way to honor her memory and try to save lives on that very same road.

As Steven and Sarah Evanusa try to pick up the pieces of their lives, friends and family are helping by picking up litter along the same stretch of Sibley Avenue where last year, 18-year-old Mackenzie Evanusa lost her life.

Detectives say the truck she was riding in was going more than 80 miles an hour when it slammed into the trees.

“She was a very big part of my life,” said Steven Evanusa, Mackenzie's father. “I have a lot of memories.”

There is now a memorial built by Mackenzie's friends with things that tell the story of a girl who grew up playing basketball and loved being outside.

“I say something to her every day. Actually, she talks to me more than I talk to her,” Steven added.

As Steven grieved, he looked for a way to keep Mackenzie's death from being forgotten.

Sibley Avenue has a reputation for attracting speeders. In 1991, three girls died when the car they were riding in flew off a bump in the pavement.

While Steven couldn't re-design the road, he realized there is one thing he can do: help keep it clean.

He adopted the road where his daughter died, committing to picking up litter there year round.

“We want to bring attention to this road and its dangers. We want Mackenzie to be the last person who dies on this road.”

Soon there will be official "Adopt-a-Road" signs bearing Mackenzie’s name. It’s something people here hope will remind drivers to slow down.

“It’s good to bring some awareness to the situation. It's a tragic event. We have had way too many in the town. One is too many,” said Old Forge Police Officer Nick Bernardi.

Steven swears he will care for this road in the heat and the cold: a father’s promise to a daughter taken far too soon.

1 Comment

  • Joe

    How will you stop teenagers from driving crazily or making novice mistakes? What about poor road conditions like the bump mentioned? Two crashes in 25 years is a crisis? Driving 80 mph is kids acting up. We all did stupid things while young, but we are still here. Kids will be kids.

    In general terms, if speed limits were posted to the 85th percentile free-flowing traffic speed, there would be no speeding.

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