Crash at perilous Omaha intersection leaves one dead, police investigating

“This is one of many, many accidents, its this blind spot that gets everybody”
Eyewitnesses spoke with 6 News about the deadly crash along NW Radial Highway Tuesday afternoon.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 10:31 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - More than 23,000 vehicles pass through the intersection of NW Radial Highway and 50th Street in the Waverly Park neighborhood every day. Unfortunately, emergency responders know the area all too well.

“At 1:43 p.m. Omaha Police and Omaha Fire Departments were called to 50th Street and Northwest Radial for a multi-car injury accident.”

Incident commander Lt. Allen Straub of the Omaha Police Department updated media an hour after the incident occurred.

Those who live and work here say this happens all too often.

“Oh, its bad, people like to speed, people don’t pay attention,” Ryan Friedrich said. He lives in an apartment just yards from the scene. “You got kids that’s out here, too, so that’s danger.”

“This is one of many, many accidents,” Brianna Pruitt said. “It’s this blind spot that gets everybody.”

Omaha police say 78-year-old Robert Williams for some reason turned left across two lanes towards 50th Street where he lives.

Timothy Broersma was driving his Ford F-150 westbound and struck their KIA before it cleared the intersection.

Brianna Pruitt and her sisters live on 50th and told police what they saw.

“By the time they saw the guy come, it was too late,” she said. “He was going at least 80 miles per hour, and he came through that blind spot there and by the time they knew he was there, it was too late.”

The sisters tried to help Williams and his passenger, 76-year-old Melody Stephens until help arrived. Emergency responders had to cut the door from the vehicle to get her to an ambulance.

“I talked to the gentleman, he wasn’t really talking to us,” Pruitt said. “He was trying to make sure his wife was o-k, she wasn’t responding.”

Melody Stephens died of her injuries after arriving at Nebraska Medical Center.

Williams, as well as a passenger of Broersma’s and the driver of a third car that avoided the collision but crashed several hundred feet away, were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Omaha police issued a statement with details of the crash but did not release any information about citations or charges in the crash.

Earlier, Straub mentioned one factor they were looking closely at.

“This particular accident today, we believe speed was a contributing factor,” he said. “So that is one thing we are looking into.”

According to Omaha’s fatal crash dashboard this is the city’s 16th vehicle related fatality of 2023.

It’s not the first in recent years at this location. One person died in a head-on collision in August of 2020 nearby.

OPD tells 6 News all lanes reopened around 5:45 p.m.