Mother fights to change HWY 51 intersection after multiple death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mother fights to change HWY 51 intersection after multiple deaths

Richard Deaton, killed in 2016 (SOURCE: Facebook) Richard Deaton, killed in 2016 (SOURCE: Facebook)
Charles Matthews, Killed in 2010 Charles Matthews, Killed in 2010
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

A West Memphis mother is fighting for some changes to an intersection after her son died in a crash near Frayser. His death wasn't the last at that intersection.

Kathy Davenport's son, Charles Matthews, was killed in 2010 when, according to police, a driver made an illegal left turn in front of him at the intersection of Highway 51 and Watkins. Matthews was riding a motorcycle when he was killed. His mother said he was brain dead, but lived for three days after the crash. After the ordeal his organs were donated to several people across the country.

Earlier this month, a 28-year-old, also riding a motorcycle, was killed at the same intersection. Just like in the Matthews case, police said he was killed when a driver made an illegal left turn in front of his bike.  Police say the 19-year-old driver's mistake cost 28-year-old Richard Deaton of Millington his life.

After seeing the news of Deaton's death Kathy, Davenport's own painful loss came rushing back. So she got an urge to do something to make sure that no one else dies at that intersection. 

"Something needs to be done. No family should have to go through this," Davenport said.

Wednesday Davenport visited the intersection at Watkins Street and US Highway 51, the site, for the first time since his death six years ago. A wooden cross with a blue ribbon marked the latest tragedy there.

After watching our story on the death of Deaton last week, she said she now has a renewed desire to see change at the intersection. She said she is even willing to go as far as Nashville to see that change happen.

"To have a green turn arrow for people who are turning left and then once that arrow is gone and the people are gone, they cannot turn until they have another green arrow," said Davenport.

Memphis traffic engineers said they will work to see if any changes are necessary at the intersection. That is good news for Davenport, who now holds onto a bell her son had on his bike as a good luck charm. She is hoping for good luck on her quest to see a difference and hoping for peace.

"My family knows what it feels like to have someone stolen from you just for not paying attention," said Davenport.

Wednesday evening, Davenport called Deaton's mother as Mrs. Deaton prepared for her son's funeral. Deaton was also an organ donor. The two mothers are working together with bikers to organize an organ donor awareness ride on what would have been Richard Deaton's 29th birthday, June 19th. 

Deaton's mother is also asking any bikers in the Mid-South to help escort her son to his final resting place. His funeral is Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Munford Funeral Home, Millington Chapel.

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