PHOENIX — It has been 13 years since Mike Humphrey lost his wife and sister in a crash on Interstate 10, near Casa Grande.
On May 14, 2008, Humphrey said he received a phone call that no one wants to get.
“I got a call at around noon from the Department of Public Safety saying there had been a crash on I-10 and that my wife and my sister were dead,” he said.
He said his wife, Pamela, swerved to avoid something in the roadway, crossed the dirt median, and collided with an oncoming semi-truck.
In the end, Pamela and Ann Quinn, his sister, were dead and Pamela’s SUV was unrecognizable, he said.
“Everything was gone. All the plans were gone. And everything we had worked for was destroyed,” Humphrey told ABC15.
It’s an eerily similar incident to what happened Wednesday after DPS said the driver of a semi-truck crossed the median on eastbound I-10, near Casa Grande, crossed the median, and struck two oncoming semi-trucks.
Passenger vehicles were also involved in that crash. Two people died and several others were hurt in Wednesday’s crash, which happened in the same general area where Humphrey lost two of his family members.
“How many people have to die before you implement your own plan?” he told ABC15.
Humphrey said ADOT promised to put up cable barriers in the median along 18 sections of I-10, including between mileposts 170 and 190.
That project, he said, was supposed to be completed by 2017, but hasn’t.
“Here we are, 2021 and the only section that I know of that has been cabled is a section milepost 220-240 on I-10,” he said.
A spokesperson for ADOT declined an on-camera interview but issued a statement in response to our questions.
“ADOT designs and builds highways under national safety standards. Barrier systems are not planned in that area,” a spokesperson said.
In 2018, ABC15 sat down with Steve Boschen, who handles statewide projects for ADOT.
He said then that installing cable barriers along I-10 would not happen.
“We’d actually be doing a disservice by putting up barriers because we’d be causing more harm than good,” he said.
However, Tom McGill, a resident of Casa Grande, believes they are necessary.
“I think there should be more concrete barriers in the median because it seems to happen all the time as you drive up and down the 10 that there’s cars that go through the median into oncoming traffic. I can think of numerous occasions where people were killed,” he said.
For Humphrey, it added to decades of grief and frustration.
“It makes me angry. It makes me frustrated why we can’t get a straight answer from ADOT about why they won’t implement their plan,” he said.
While he is sad that another deadly crash occurred on I-10, he said he plans to continue to push to answers in the hope of saving future lives.