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Spokane-area residents make tragic case for road dollars…

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Debi Hammel / Lorissa Green’s mother

Some emotional testimony yesterday in the House Transportation committee, as dozens of Spokane-area people made the long trip to Olympia to call for improvements at an intersection where a 16-year-old driver was killed in January.

I wrote a story about this, with the specifics of the wreck, dollar figures for proposed fixes, and a little about the lawmakers who will decide what to do. But some of the most powerful testimony was left on the cutting-room floor. It says more about the tragedy than my story did.

Debi Hammel, whose 16-year-old daughter pulled from a stop sign onto a highway, only to be struck by a trailer-towing pickup she apparently didn’t see. (Audio excerpt above.)

“As a parent, you always fear giving your child a car, a cell phone, and freedom. Yet it is part of growing up and allowing them to create their own destiny.

“…On. Jan. 16th, my worst nightmare came true. First the phone call, then the site of the accident, then the painful news that my daughter was gone.” voice breaking and wiping away tears.

“…Three days later, I said goodbye to my daughter as they took her away to donate the only part of her that was left living.”

“…Lorissa made a fatal mistake, and I am sure that she thought that intersection was clear.”

Sitting beside her was a man named David Blyton. He was driving that pickup truck.

“We will never know what Lorissa saw when she pulled out. I will never forget what I saw.”