“If we can save one more life or one more injury and have something good come out of this, we’ve reached our goal,” said Judy Beale, an aunt of Robbins, who was seven months pregnant at the time of the Jan. 11 wreck. “My niece has been killed, the baby is dead. We have a 2-year-old without a mom, a husband without a wife.”
Beale and other family members are asking Cherokee County to put up two stop signs at the intersection of Woodstock Road and Victory Drive, where gashes in the dirt and a mound of roses, hydrangeas and lilies mark the spot of the wreck.
Geoff Morton, Cherokee’s head engineer, said the county has heard the family’s cries and is getting prices for a study of the intersection to see what the best solution would be to improve safety, although it may take a while.
“It is on our radar. We are working on it,” Morton said Friday. “We should have something probably in the next couple months, a recommendation for results.”
The three-way intersection, where Victory Drive dead-ends at the single stop sign there comes together at a skewed angle and sits not far from Hobgood Park.
Robbins died at WellStar Kennestone Hospital after driving into the path of a pickup truck. The driver wasn’t charged. An emergency Cesarean section wasn’t able to save her baby, authorities said.
On Wednesday afternoon, about a dozen family members of Robbins, a homemaker and Etowah High graduate, gathered in the cold to show their support and plead their case for the changes. Robbins’ husband, Anthony Robbins, and the daughter she left behind, Malaya, had planned to come as well, but Anthony Robbins decided it would be too much to visit the spot, family members said.
At the time the family gathered Wednesday, many had signed an online petition the family created on change.org asking for support for their cause. By Friday afternoon, more than 1,200 people had signed.
The family has also been calling the county directly, urging employees to take action.
“I begged and I pleaded,” Beale said through tears for her niece and the unborn girl, who would’ve been named Ariella. “We lost a loved one. We lost two —we lost the baby and we lost Tiffany. A mother, a wife, a daughter, a child.”
Morton said although the family’s concerns have gotten the county’s attention, the intersection has actually been a worry for some time because of the distorted angle at which the roads come together.
“The skew is a concern,” he said. “They probably paved the road as-is and traffic has increased over the years and that is no longer a desirable intersection. It’s something we had planned on looking at anyway; it’s just this will accelerate that.”
Dana Thompson, Anthony Robbins’ sister, said she’d be open to anything to make the intersection better, because she’s seen the spot as dangerous for years.
“When I was in high school, in the same year, two of my friends were in accidents here, different days,” she said standing on the roadside Wednesday as car after car drove through the intersection.
Thompson said those friends survived, but she believes the lack of two stop signs on Woodstock Road made it so Robbins wasn’t as lucky.
“Had this been a three-way intersection, everybody would’ve been OK,” she said.
“And Tiffany would be alive today,” Beale added.
Morton, though, said a stop sign might not be the answer.
“With a skewed intersection like that, it’s a little more involved than slapping up three stop signs,” he said. “We’d have to do some construction out there … because it’s too wide of an intersection to make a three-way stop right now. We don’t want to create a worse situation.”
But Robbins’ family is willing to accept whatever it takes to make it so no family has to go through what they’re going through.
“We’ve offered to even buy the stop signs. We’ve offered to buy the paint,” Beale said. “We’ve offered to do everything. We’ve offered man hours. We’ve offered our time. … I really don’t think we’re asking the county for much.”