Victims of fatal traffic accidents in Clayton County remembered with vigil

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Officials said there has been an increase in the number of traffic fatalities this year.

Last year, 18 people died on roads in Clayton County. In 2021, 25 people have died on those same roads so far. 11 of these deaths have been pedestrians.

These numbers are why one Clayton County commissioner and family members of victims are calling for funding for major road improvements.

“All three are him,” said Wally Price. Price’s brother was one of those killed in a traffic accident in Clayton County. Seeing his nephews makes Price remember his brother even more. Price misses his brother, Kenyell Price, a lot.

Just not as much as Kenyell Price’s 11-year-old son. The child was waiting for his father to come home on June 22, but he never made it.

“And for him not to come home at all ... he knew something was wrong,” said Wally Price.

Kenyell Price was hit and killed on Tara Boulevard at Irongate early that morning. The driver kept going.

Wally Price said the roadway needs major improvements to keep people safe.

“I would like to see some sidewalks and/or some lights on this stretch of this road,” said Price.

Commissioner Felicia Franklin held a vigil to honor the 25 people who have lost their lives on Clayton County roads this year.

“Our roads are dangerous for both motorists as well as pedestrians. We need lighting. We need continuous sidewalks. And we need that overhead crosswalk,” said Franklin.

Franklin said Tara Boulevard near Upper Riverdale Road is the most dangerous stretch of road in the county.

The mother of a Clayton County police officer, Armando Mendoza, got emotional talking about her son’s death.

“I can tell you firsthand receiving news that you lose,” said Bianca Mendoza.

Armando Mendoza was killed in a collision at Tara Boulevard and North Main in April.

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Bianca Mendoza said the roads are too dangerous here.

“Something needs to be done. And it’s not a ‘yesterday’ problem. It’s a ‘right now’ problem,” said Mendoza.

Martha Fordham said it’s often a game of cat and mouse trying to get out of her subdivision.

“I have to cross three lanes of traffic, wait, then cross another three lanes,” said Fordham.

Franklin said there are federal, state and county funds available to pay for road improvements. She said people need to urge elected officials to allocate that money for projects in Clayton County.

The commissioner will hold a forum on June 22 at the Flint River Community Center to discuss ways to secure those funds.