Monroe council to discuss safety concerns at intersection where crash killed woman, nephew

Members of Monroe City Council are expected to discuss safety issues at the corner of Ohio 63/Main Street during Tuesday's meeting. Two people were killed in the intersection recently. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Members of Monroe City Council are expected to discuss safety issues at the corner of Ohio 63/Main Street during Tuesday's meeting. Two people were killed in the intersection recently. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Monroe city council member Christina McElfresh called a double fatal crash in the city’s busiest intersection “an absolute tragedy” after a woman and her nephew were killed.

Council members are expected to discuss potential solutions to reduce the number of crashes in the city, particularly on Ohio 63, McElfresh said. The item is listed on the agenda for Tuesday night’s council meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m.

Since 2018, there have been 94 crashes at the intersection, including 57 non-injury, 36 injury and one fatal, according to Monroe police crash reports obtained by The Journal-News.

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The fatal crash happened May 14 when a tractor-trailer and silver sedan collided, shutting down the intersection for hours.

Marita Avery, 59, a classroom educational assistant at Crossroads Middle School, part of the Fairfield district, and her nephew, Anthony L. Mitchell, 26, were killed.

Mitchell, the passenger in the silver sedan, was dead when crews arrived, police said in a release. He died from multiple traumatic injuries and his death was ruled an accident, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Avery, the driver of the sedan, was transported by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton where she died at 4:23 p.m. May 14, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured, police said.

Monroe police are still investigating the crash and reviewing the two vehicles involved, said officer Joshua King.

Days after the deadly crash, Monroe residents circulated a petition on social media that says they “demand a lower speed limit” and turn-only green lights east- and westbound at the Ohio 63 and Main Street intersection, and “prepare to stop flashing lights” at the following intersections: Ohio 63/Main Street, Britton Lane/Ohio 63 and Yankee Road/Ohio 63.

Avery was described by co-workers at Crossroads Middle School as a passionate advocate of the students she worked with since joining the Fairfield school system in 2016.

“Marita didn’t see a difficult kid, rather she would see a kid that was in need of a little more love,” said Crossroads Principal David Maine.

Francine Ross, school secretary, called Avery “such a light in this world.”

Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for the district, said Avery “had a way of making everyone that she came into contact with feel like they were an old friend. She never met a stranger. Her passing is a huge loss to the district, Crossroads and all the students she served over the years.”