Richmond/Spring Grove Village Articles


Three teens hospitalized from accident at controversial intersection in Richmond

by Greg Cryns


On Monday, September 25, Michelle Weber of Spring Grove was driving home in her 1989 Oldsmobile from Richmond Burton High School (RBCHS). Three other students accompanied her. Weber was heading east on West Solon Road. After stopping at Rt 12 at the stop sign, she proceeded to cross the busy highway.  Her car was violently hit on the passenger side by a tractor-trailer truck heading north toward the village of Richmond.

Her passengers were  Briyan Alfaro, 16,  of Richmond, Kayla Huff, 16, of Spring Grove and Ethan Okayama, 16, of Spring Grove. Three of the students were trapped inside the car after the crash. “We had to take the top off the car to free the occupants,” said Gallas. “Fortunately we had three sets of extrication equipment available. This really made the operation successful.” Gallas said that the force of the accident pushed Huff’s car 35 feet northwest.

The accident occurred at about 2:50 p.m. shortly after the students are dismissed from the high school at 2:33 p.m.. All of the students were reported to have been wearing seat belts. Weber was taken to Northern Illinois Medical Center where she was treated for minor injuries and released that day.

According to Richmond Fire Chief Rick Gallas, Huff was air lifted to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rockford and initially reported to be in critical condition. Alfaro was air lifted to Rockford Memorial Hospital. Okayama was air lifted to Froedtert Children’s Hospital near Milwaukee.

Police reported that the driver of the truck, Edward Powell, was treated for minor injuries and released. He is also reported to have been traveling below the 45 m.p.h. speed limit.

Illinois law states that drivers under the age of 18 who have been licensed for less than six month may not have more than one unrelated passenger under 20 years old in their car.  Weber was cited for violating this law and for failure to yield to traffic.

The intersection of West Solon Road and Route 12 has been a thorn in the side of the public since the new high school opened. It has been the scene of numerous traffic accidents involving teenagers going home from school. According to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department there have been six auto accidents at the intersection since 2005. One resident who lives near the intersection said there were as many as 12 accidents before that.

In 2004 the school board at RBCHS listened to complaints from the public about the intersection. There are two exits from the school parking lot. At this time, students may only use the exit to Route 31 on the east side. The board members felt that sending the students out the Tryon Grove exit was too dangerous because there is a steep incline approaching the exit from the west side.

In 2002 local residents sought help from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). They requested the installation of a traffic signal at Rt. 12 and West Solon Road but they were rebuffed.

When the school opened students were allowed to exit on the north side. However, former Superintendent Wayne Riesen said that this created serious traffic jams at the stoplight located at Route 31 and Tryon Grove Rd. This delayed the buses from getting to the Nippersink Middle School for pickups.

It was also proposed that the students be allowed a left turn only as they left onto Route 31 at the east side exit. This would prevent them from turning right on Route 31 and proceeding to West Solon Rd. The board did not take any action on that proposal.

RBCHS Principal Thomas DuBois reported that all the students in the accident were in stable condition on Wednesday morning. DuBois is very concerned about the traffic problem. “I am not opposed to talking with law enforcement about this situation,” said DuBois. Regarding making it mandatory to turn left on Route 31 DuBois said that the issue may involve legalities. DuBois echoed the feeling that the exiting on Tryon Grove is not a good idea. He said the issue involves both the school and law enforcement. “We are happy to have a Richmond police officer at the exit on Route 31,” he said. “Getting more officers is a problem since the village is limited by the number of officers on staff.”

The high school issues parking permits that cost $60 per year. DuBois said that seniors have priority then juniors and sophomores.

Ronnie Mussared lives a block from the intersection at Rt. 12 and West Solon Road. She suggested that the school could be stricter about issuing parking permits. “Perhaps the parents would be asked to prove a need for their children driving to school,” said Mussared who also supports a left turn only rule after school at Route 31.

Fire chief Gallas said he plans to seek assistance from local politicians to make changes at the intersection. “I will be proactive for this to help make the intersection safer. I plan to write Jack Franks and Melissa Bean about it.”





McHenry Online Website Services



Site Maintenance


Site Registration
Search Engine


Towns in McHenry County, Illinois
(click for more info about each town)
Algonquin Cary Crystal Lake Harvard Hebron Huntley Johnsburg
Mchenry Marengo Richmond Spring Grove
Woodstock Wonder Lake