Two-car Collision On Route 232 Kills Three People In Bucks County A 20-year-old Driver Tried To Pass On A Deadly Stretch Of Road. She And The Other Car's Occupants Died.

Posted: November 15, 1999

WRIGHTSTOWN — Three people were killed over the weekend when a 20-year-old driver tried to pass another car on a rural stretch of Route 232 and slammed into a car in the opposite lane, Buckingham Township police said.

Both drivers died in the wreck, which occurred at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and a 49-year-old female passenger was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Mary's Trauma Center in Langhorne.

Police said Megan Keesler of Hogeland Road in Southampton was driving alone in a 1996 Pontiac Sunfire when she pulled out into the no-passing lane and hit a white Saturn driven by William Elliot Dudley, 50, of Eagle Road in Newtown. His wife, Shirley D. Dudley, was in the passenger seat, said Buckingham Police Capt. Elwood Barnhardt.

The two cars collided about 500 yards south of Swamp Road and Route 232 - a notorious Bucks County intersection. The crossroads, where traffic is stopped only by two stop signs on Swamp Road, has been the site of numerous deadly crashes in the last several years, police said.

Although Saturday's accident on the unlit two-lane curve was still under investigation, Barnhardt said it was likely that speed and driver error were factors. The posted speed limit is 45 m.p.h., and the road is marked with double yellow no-passing lines. The speeds the two cars were going at the time of the wreck are not known yet.

``Several witnesses have told us that they saw [Keesler] passing numerous cars before the accident,'' and that she was speeding, Barnhardt said. ``Any road is dangerous if you're speeding; it's not the intersection's fault. Everybody's in a hurry today, and these roads aren't made for that. The problem is people still think these are country roads, and they're not anymore.''

Autopsies were performed last night, and results are expected in the next few days, said Keith Preston, chief deputy Bucks County coroner. ``The Dudleys were wearing seat belts,'' Preston said. ``The other driver was not.''

The sound of crashing metal and glass has been frequent for homeowners Robert and Mary Lou Kufta, who live a few feet from the accident site. On Saturday night, it was that noise that brought them running out.

``We were watching a video when we heard it,'' Robert Kufta said. ``We called 911 . . . but you could see it was too late. This was the worst I've ever seen. These cars were just like accordions.''

Kufta said he had tried to slow speeding drivers in the past by asking that a traffic light be installed at the intersection. He also resorted to a visual trick.

``I made a plywood cutout of a chocolate Lab [Labrador retriever] on stakes, and put it up to make it look like he was trying to cross the road,'' Kufta said. The cutout seemed to work until someone crashed into it last year.

The accidents on Route 232 take an emotional toll on residents, he said.

``You don't get used to it,'' said Kufta, standing in his kitchen yesterday morning. ``The frustrating part about this is, at least one of those cars was just minding its own business, and now a whole world has been turned upside down.''

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