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‘Baylee’s Bill’ gains support from Benton County Supervisors following fatal Highway 30 accident

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Baylee Hess

BENTON COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) - Just a week after a fatal car crash took the life of their sister, an Eastern Iowa family began thinking how they could save another family from experiencing the same fate.

26-year-old Baylee Hess was killed on November 30th after colliding with a semi at the intersection of Highway 30 and 21st Ave in Benton County.

Baylee Hess

Now, Baylee's two sisters, Jasmine Gatson and Jade Ewoldt are advocating to pass a bill that would require roads outside of city limits with a 55 mph speed limit that intersects with state or U.S. highways to have rumble strips to alert drivers.

The bill, HF 2004, is currently in a subcommittee and if it were to be passed into law it would be called 'Baylee's Bill'.

The accident happened on stretch of roadway that is owned by Benton County. That's why the family proposed the changes to the Board of Supervisors during their meeting today.

"That gives them one more startle point to realize they need to be slowing down and stopping," said Gatson during today's meeting.

The weather was poor the night of November 30th when Baylee's life ended too soon, the sisters believe another warning system could prevent another death.

"So the weather wasn't great. She was coming back to La Porte to visit family, and not familiar with that roadway," said Gatson.

Hess, an Iowa native, was living out of town at the time and was visiting family in Benton County. She was not familiar with that stretch of roadway.

"She was fun-loving, she liked to adventure and travel," said Gatson.

"She had a fiery spunky sassy attitude that we just all loved," said Ewoldt.

Now the family wants to get rumble strips at all county highway intersections outside of city limits to help alert other drivers who may be unfamiliar or driving in inclement weather.

"You just feel from other families who could go through something like this and had she had a few more seconds of notice, you know, you can't go back and do anything over but we might not be having this conversation right now," said Ewoldt.

The Benton County Supervisors were on board with adding safety rumble strips to the intersection as some already avoid the intersection.

"It's the most dangerous intersection in the county, I'd support the rumble strips," said Supervisor, Gary Bierschenk.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Rick Primmer also suggested adding extra precautions, such as a permanent flashing light.

"If Benton County is going to be part of a spearhead to be one of the first ones to put the rumble strip in at least at this intersection, maybe we should look at permanently flashing lights on the stop sign," said Primmer.

Right now there is a speed triggered flashing light at the intersection, but according to Hess' family, it was not working the night of the crash.

The Board also agreed to sign a letter of support for 'Baylee's Bill'.

"You really take for granted getting home every day. No matter what, you know, wherever you're going, wherever you're traveling to make sure we can get people home to their families. That's the hope," said Ewoldt.

The bill is being sponsored by Iowa Representatives Dean Fisher, Tom Gerhold, and Cecil Dolecheck. They need support from two more Iowa Representatives who are scheduled to discuss the bill in Des Moines on Thursday morning.

The family is asking anyone who would like to see this change to contact their local representatives to show support.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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