Widower pleads for improved highway safety

May 26, 2023

The following letter was sent to Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, with a copy provided to the Cape Gazette for publication.

Pete, my family and I are going through a pretty tough time right now. I'm sure you heard about the fatal accident on Route 1 just south of Cave Neck Road on Saturday morning, May 6. There were two fatalities in this horrific head-on collision, and one of the fatalities was my sweet wife of 43 years and three days, Suzanne Lynn Misener. We also grieve with the family of the other deceased victim and pray for healing and full recovery for the injured victim. Lynn is the mother of our two children, Erica, 37, and Brian, 40. She is the mother-in-law to our son's wife, Andrea, and grandmother to the brightest gleam in her eyes, grandson Gavin Emmerick Misener. Her mother, Suzanne, lives near Milton, which is where Lynn was going on the morning of May 6. Her father, Donald, lives near Angola. We will never see Lynn again on this Earth, and I must say I feel robbed of that.

I truly feel that DelDOT and the highway administration have grievously let down the citizens of Delaware, particularly those in Sussex County. I attended a funeral in Wilmington three days after Lynn's and noticed the cable-stay median barriers. Unfortunately, it seems the median barriers mysteriously disappear just south of Dover. I viewed an online PowerPoint presentation of a workshop titled, "Delaware Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Toward Zero Deaths.” It would be more aptly named, "New Castle and Kent County Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Toward Zero Deaths.” I haven't found any recap or updates from the July 2018 workshop. Just for the record, as you're well aware, we also have numerous fatal traffic accidents in Sussex County. New Castle and Kent don't have a monopoly.

My wife's untimely and brutal death was caused by a southbound vehicle that - for reasons unconfirmed at this time - crossed the median and hit my wife’s vehicle head-on. Median barriers could have potentially reduced the risk of serious injury or death for everyone involved.

Pete, I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss the severity of what's going on in Sussex County - and what's not going on in our great state of Delaware to prevent or greatly reduce traffic accidents involving median-crossing head-on collisions. Thank you in advance for your consideration. 

Keith A. Misener

Editor’s note: The Cape Gazette asked the Delaware Department of Transportation about the possibility of adding median barriers south of Dover. DelDOT Community Relations Director Charles “C.R.” McLeod said a project to add 10 miles of median guardrail from Barkers Landing Bridge to the Route 1/Route 113 split in Milford will begin later this year. He said a median guardrail and concrete barrier will also be added along Route 1 as part of the Minos Conaway Road and Cave Neck Road grade-separated intersection projects. Work to fill in the gaps will proceed from there, he said. 

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