Seven years ago, Brian Montgomery was lying in a crumpled heap near the gothic stone entry gates to St. Joseph's Villa on Brook Road, his wheelchair a twisted mess of metal illuminated by car headlights.
"I was going to Wal-Mart," recalls Montgomery, a resident of Hollybrook Apartments, an independent-living apartment complex associated with the Villa. He and the complex's 60 other residents -- all wheelchair-bound make the crossing to Wal-Mart and Kroger almost daily "for medicine or milk, bread and eggs."
"I guess they were playing with the radio or their phone," Montgomery says of the school teacher and college professor in the car that hit him. "All I remember is brakes squealing and headlights coming toward me. It threw me 15 or 20 feet in the air."
Nearly all of Montgomery's neighbors have similar harrowing tales, of being either hit or nearly hit crossing Brook Road.
But those stories may soon become distant memories. The state recently approved funding for major improvements to the road crossing. The county will finalize its own commitment on Sept. 25.
County officials have credited Montgomery's lobbying efforts with helping move the project forward despite slim pickings for transportation funds statewide.
"The project is now fully funded," says Todd Eure, a Henrico County transportation development engineer who helped secure the project's financing, an estimated $1.9 million in county and state funds.
Included in the project are an additional southbound lane of Brook Road between Parham Road and Villa Park Drive, new curbs and gutters, sidewalks and a handicap-accessible crosswalk.
"It's going to make it safer for us, and we won't have to worry so much about the tractor-trailers coming," Montgomery says. SClick here for more News and Features