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Dare not to stare at Seattle's 'Crash Corner'

A resident has captured nearly every collision for the past five years. #k5evening

SEATTLE — Life is rarely dull at the corner of crash and crunch. 

"The corner is fast and dangerous," said resident Joy Hollingsworth.

23rd Avenue East and East John Street is one of Seattle’s most-watched intersections, thanks to Hollingsworth.

"I just care about the community," she said.

Hollingsworth is a third-generation resident of this family home.

"My grandmother moved here in 1946," she said.

She's seen the streets of her beloved neighborhood grow more and more dangerous, year after road-rage-filled year.

"People are trying to avoid the freeway, and so 23rd is just their outlet," Hollingsworth said.  

A few years ago, Hollingsworth began filming the street using security cameras mounted outside her home.

"You know what," she recalls thinking. "I'm gonna point a camera and see if we can catch some red light runners."

Since then, she’s documented nearly every car crash, night and day.

"Ten to 15 accidents year-round," she estimated.

Though there have been no known fatalities since she started filming collisions in 2018, there have been some very scary close calls.

"Probably the worst one that I've seen is a little kid from one of the middle schools in the area get hit on a scooter," Hollingsworth said. "Thankfully he's okay, but that was really scary."

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While visiting during an afternoon rush hour, we witnessed one car locking up its brakes in the intersection, and another traveling in the wrong direction.

Most wrecks are the result of drivers running red lights.

"There's a lot of T-bones."

Speed is also a factor in most of the crashes. And no two collisions are the same.

"One was this truck that was carrying a ton of wood, and it got clipped, T-boned," she said.

Just a few seconds earlier, a pedestrian had been walking in the very spot where the huge load of wood landed.

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Hollingsworth’s videos have helped police solve a few cases.

"Any time of the day they know I have a camera pointing here," she said.

The footage has gotten the public's attention with thousands of online views.

"Hopefully, maybe the cameras bring an awareness to folks that this is a dangerous corner."

Her videos have also helped convince local officials to take steps that should make the intersection safer.

"They were able to see how bad it was," Hollingsworth said. "They're making the lights for the signal be a lot bigger."

They're also placing easier-to-see crosswalk signals, and improving the sidewalks to make them safer and more visible at crossings. With any luck, those changes will help make life at the corner of 23rd and John blissfully boring.

"I just want to make sure that the corner's safe."

RELATED: Bellevue teen creates safe driving pledge, earns scholarship award

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