Crumbled Loch Isle wall, sign of a troubled intersection

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, May 31, 2023

     Shortly before sunrise on April 23, a red Mercedes Benz sedan that police say was speeding at an estimated 65 mph crashed into a fire hydrant and the low wall that surrounds the Loch Isle community in the heart of Miami Lakes.

     “I know in addition to this one there’s been three major accidents,” said Javier Ley-Soto, past president of the Loch Isle homeowners association.  

     The community has endured multiple crashes into its property, which prompts safety concerns and negotiations with insurance companies for repair costs that can be more than $10,000, Ley-Soto said. 

     “When I say major, they have affected the structural portion of the wall where the HOA has had to make repairs.”

     Crashes at the northwest corner of Miami Lakes Drive and Miami Lakeway North leave a crumbled wall at the corner and create an ugly landmark.

     Westbound motorists on Miami Lakes Drive receive many warnings of the curve ahead as they approach the tennis courts at the Miami Lakes Athletic Club.

     There is a flashing signal that warns of a traffic light ahead, a sign that says, “Don’t even think about speeding” and bright yellow signs that warn drivers to slow to 20 mph before the curve as traffic approaches the stop light at the intersection.

     The posted speed along that westbound section of the drive before the curve is 30 mph.

     Drivers who have hit the wall surrounding the Loch Isle community have died, stuck a fire hydrant or light pole or collided with other cars.

      In April 2015, three people reportedly died at that corner. A WPLG Ch-10 report showed a car wrapped around a traffic signal pole, wedged between it and the Loch Isle wall in the fatal crash.

      Police reports from crashes on Aug. 28, 2021 and Aug. 14, 2018 accused drivers of speeding at night while on wet roads. 

     The driver in the 2:05 a.m. crash two years ago was traveling an estimated 50 mph before losing control, striking the curb, then the light pole and then the concrete wall. 

     The second motorist drove an estimated 40 mph at 11:45 p.m. before losing control and being stopped by the wall, according to police reports.

     Since Jan. 1, 2022, there have been 12 incidents at the intersection, police said. 

     While none of those were fatal or involved a pedestrian, two cars struck a tree in the median; another car crashed into a fire hydrant and the April crash was into the wall. 

     The remaining eight crashes were between vehicles, outgoing Miami-Dade Police Maj. Javier Ruiz wrote in an email on May 16. 

     Ley-Soto’s home in the Loch Isle community is along Miami Lakes Drive.

     “I hear vehicles that use that straight away both going east-and-westbound, and you’ll hear cars that will rev [their engines],” Ley-Soto said. 

     Ley-Soto said he worries about his kids who play in the neighborhood since the crashes send concrete blocks and debris flying into the parking lot, leaving rebar rods exposed. 

     So far, no Loch Isle residents have been hurt and property hasn’t been damaged inside the community, he said.

     Former HOA president Dave Oliver has lived in the community since 1995. 

     He said in past incidents, uninsured drivers would have to pay out of pocket to rebuild the wall. 

     “We still continue to have [accidents] … They’re driving very irresponsibly,” Oliver said. 

     Ley-Soto and Oliver are just two of the community’s residents who would like something done to help stop the wrecks from happening. 

     Ley-Soto said he called the council about possible solutions.

    “I have suggested possibly doing a roundabout [such as] I have seen in Pinecrest, in Coral Gables and Doral,” Ley-Soto said. 

     Councilman Josh Dieguez said he would like to see a device installed that flashes brightly like a red-light camera, to provide an additional warning to drivers about the upcoming curve. 

     He brought up the dangerous intersection to the council at its May 9 meeting.

     “At this point, it’s amazing to me how many people don’t notice the yellow arrow signs all around it,” Dieguez said. 

     The town is currently looking at various options.  Any road improvements would require approval by Miami-Dade County, town officials said.