‘This hit hard’: Neighbors call for enforcement on Semmes after car accident killed RPS teen

A deadly crash is renewing calls for change along a busy South Richmond road.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 7:39 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A deadly crash is renewing calls for change along Semmes Avenue after a Huguenot High School student was killed when the car she was riding in crashed into a power pole at Semmes and 22nd on Saturday.

Charles Redmond has only lived on Semmes for a little over a year and says accidents here are nothing new, but the aftermath he witnessed in Saturday’s deadly crash is the worst he’s seen.

“It’s the speeding that really gets our attention, in the past, it’s normally screeches, bangs,” Redmond said. “The driver came out and kept saying she’s only 17,” Redmond said. “It really hit all of us.”

The victim inside the vehicle on Nov. 26 was 17-year-old, Josie Cox.

Redmond says like so many other accidents its clear speed was a factor.

“I overheard one of the investigators say that this white car was going significantly over the speed limit,” said Redmond.

The crash was so intense that it crash and bent the concrete power pole the vehicle stuck on the median of Semmes and 22nd.

According to state crash records, there have been at least 29 accidents along Semmes Avenue so far this year. At least four of those accidents, not including Saturday’s fatality, have happened at the 22nd Street intersection.

Redmond says the neighborhood wants to see more speed enforcement.

“If the word gets out that Semmes Ave is a speeding ticket city or a big speeding ticket area maybe they will get the message and take their activities somewhere else,” Redmon said.

City Councilor Stephanie Lynch’s office says new speed tables have been installed on West 25th and 26th streets in the last couple of months to help slow drivers between Bainbridge and Semmes. More extreme measures on Semmes like narrowing the road would require permission from the state because Semmes Ave is technically a state route.

Lynch says she wants to see steps taken to narrow the roads and add infrastructure to support pedestrians, bicyclists and public transport, as well as speed enforcement, but those measures would require cooperation with VDOT in order to be implemented.

In the meantime, as the city mourns the loss of yet another teen Redmond hopes this latest incident makes people come to their senses.

“This hit hard, it really hit hard,” Redmond said. “The city and hopefully the state has got to do something to slow this down.

A prayer vigil has been planned for Cox behind the parking lot of the Haywood Hair Salon on Semmes Avenue across the street from where the accident happened. People are asked to wear pink and white and bring candles.

For more information contact United Communities Against Crime at 804-399-1111.