FOLSOM, Calif. — Folsom drivers have been calling for a median divider on Folsom Lake Crossing for years, one that the city says they'll start building this year.
However, that safety barrier would come too late for the three people killed in a Tuesday crash along that very roadway.
That crash left Bryan Ybarra reeling. He said he witnessed the crash, called 911 and rushed to the aid of the elderly couple.
“They had just got done grocery shopping, and the reason why I say that is because they had all their grocery flown through out the car. I just pulled everything off of her to free her up so that she didn’t have all this mess all over her," Ybarra said.
As first responders tried to extricate the couple, Ybarra said he held the woman’s hand, comforting her and her husband. While doing so, he said he noticed empty children’s car seats in the back of the sedan.
“The thought kept going through my mind that this is somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s mom or dad,” Ybarra said.
Later that night, he learned the couple didn't survive.
“Even though they’re not my relatives, it’s still heartbreaking. They went through something unimaginable,” Ybarra said.
Ybarra drives over the Folsom Lake Crossing every day as he goes to and from work. However, he’s now looking for another route.
“There’s no way to drive past that spot and not think of them," he said.
He fears there will be another crash, a worry many residents in the area share.
"Going down the hill is where it gets scary," said Ricky Mellow, who works nearby and says people tend to speed along the roadway.
Ybarra says a barrier could have prevented the tragedy that happened Tuesday. The city of Folsom says they are moving forward with plans to install a median barrier on the road. The design stage is expected to be finished this year with work to follow soon after.
Meanwhile, Ybarra says he wishes he could have done more to help the couple killed in the head-on crash. He hopes their family knows that their loved ones were not alone.
“I promise you that I was with them until the end, and I made sure they were OK and comforted," he said.
Ybarra says he understands that the city is doing the best they can, but is calling on leaders to find ways to expedite the project to prevent another tragedy.