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Detective's Family Wants Route 70 Safety Upgraded After Fatal 2011 Crash

Detective Tina Rambo was killed in a head-on Route 70 crash in August 2011

Local police agencies are backing a call from the family of an Ocean County Prosecutor's Office detective who was killed in a Route 70 crash last year to increase safety on the state highway. 

The family of Detective Tina Rambo, who was killed in an August 2011 head-on crash at age 35 while driving along Route 70 in Southampton, wants the Pinelands Commission to adapt its Comprehensive Management Plan to enhance safety on the mostly two-lane highway.

According to a news release issued by Rambo's sister Tara Cunningham, her family and police from Manchester, Lakehurst, Medford and Pemberton believe Route 70 within the Pinelands should have barriers and be designated a Safe Corridor. Rambo's family and other organizations plan to appeal to the Pinelands Commission Monday night to allow for such a designation in the area.

"The very real fact is Route 70 needs barriers," said Patrolman Doug Higgins, Manchester Police Department's Traffic Safety Officer, in the release. "The long, unlit, narrow, non-center medium road is a major contributor to many of these accidents. Route 70 is one of the most dangerous roads in the state."

Chief Eric Higgins of Lakehurst also called on the Pinelands Commission to find a solution that is environmentally sustainable while taking human life into account. 

An online petition is being circulated by Rambo's family with the hope of creating safe corridors along Route 70. According to the petition, such corridors have not made it into a wish list for 2013 New Jersey Department of Transportation capital projects. 

"This road has been virtually unchanged since the 1930s" and "is inappropriate for use in 2012," the petition states. 

Last week, a township woman was killed and a Toms River woman was seriously injured in Whiting in a head-on collision on Route 70.

Safe corridor designations are determined based on "accident rates, fatalities, traffic volume and other highway traffic safety criteria," according to state legislation. A list of highways meeting that designation is available from the NJDOT. 

Manchester's Township Council in April also questioned the highway's safety. After a string of crashes on Route 70 in the township, members passed a resolution asking for help from New Jersey officials.

"The state Department of Transportation has failed to move forward with a greatly needed plan to widen this section of Route 70 and address these serious concerns," states the council resolution directed to the NJDOT, township officials and 10th Legislative District representatives. 

The resolution passed by the council in April urges the NJDOT to evaluate Route 70 in Manchester to "determine a solution to alleviate traffic and address the often dangerous and fatal accidents" on the highway.

Rambo's family said that help could come from the transportation department's Cross Median Accident Prevention Program, which since 2002 "identifies locations where cross-median head-on collisions have occurred and provides median barriers designed to prevent such occurrences at identified locations," according to the state. 

Pemberton Chief of Police David Jantas said in a statement that "many innocent people die by unsafe drivers" because of these median crossovers. 

"These accidents, like the one that killed Ocean County Detective Tina Rambo on milepost 21, can be drastically reduced by the erection of barriers and the widening of the roads," he said. 

Opinionated September 24, 2012 at 09:27 PM
You'd save more lives by regularly testing seniors if you truly wanted to make Rt. 70 safer. Riddle me this: What % of people living in developments on Rt. 70 in Ocean County are 65 or older?
So Much to Say September 25, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I'm sorry for her death....But let's be realistic....Where is this money going to come from? The money tree?
Bryan September 25, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I am sorry for thier loss but i dont think that is the answer. I too drive that rd everyday and its a combination of things but mostly its just people not willing to slow it down if you are driving 60 people ride up on you doing 70, people just dont use their heads.
billabong September 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Exactly. Nobody wants to address the other issue causing many of these accidents. The erection of barriers is geared toward stopping people from crossing over the median but why are they crossing over the median? Barriers and widening roads is a good start. You want to make roads even more safe? It's common sense: retest seniors.
JayBee September 25, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Absolutly, I hear sirens almost everyday... And yes it is true,,, so many seniors, and they are a danger to themselves and others. It is nice to know that some will give up driving because they are afraid also. Yes Rt 70 needs barriers. Are the trees coming down to widen the road for barriers?
JayBee September 25, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Very true... Maybe the trees are coming down for a barrier.... and widening the road. I would think that once a senior gets to a certain age, they would think it is the time to give up the privilege of driving.
Tara Cunningham September 25, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Hi all, Tara Cunningham, sister of Detective Tina Rambo. I'll address the above, and please feel free to come back to me with any other comments. 1. Tina was killed by a 24 year old woman. Age was not a factor, the absence of barriers was. Same can be said for the poor woman who was killed just last Tuesday. 2. The speed limit is 50 in some parts, 55 in others. Bryan, at 60 you're speeding. Speed kills. 3. Where will the funding come from? The widening of Rt 70 could form part of the New Jersey Transportation Investment Candidates for a Federal Transportation Infrastructure Stimulus Package. It is from the Federal Govt, the funds are there, they only need to be appropriated. Again, please feel free to hit me up with any questions. Be safe.
JayBee September 25, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Please accept my condolenses for your sister. It is a crazy road. Even if you are doing the speed limit, people still pass you...Everyone is in a hurry to get to a stop street or a light or nowhere just to be ahead of you.
Bernie Miller September 25, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I'm sure you never speed. get real. I sometimes try and obey 65mph on the pkwy just for kicks 99% of motorists pass you. Try and maintain 50 on rt 70 and they'll be a freight train of cars behind you and many will pass at first op. I got passed many times when going 65. They can't put dividers on a 2-lane highway and the state can't afford another road improvement since they can't or won't even maintain rt 9.
bhavaja September 25, 2012 at 11:27 PM
drunk/drugged out drivers and those speeding to work are not seniors - stop pointing finger to one population - it is everyone; it is a dangerous road - PERIOD.
LB September 26, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Hi Tara, I fully support a change on Rt. 70. Over the past few years there have been quite a few head on collisions, believe me since Tina's death I have been paying more attention to the dangers of Rt. 70. Last year I was almost involved in a head-on due to the careless driving of a middle aged woman who simply thought she could pass the person in front of her. We were both shaken up a bit. Tara if there is anything I can do to help let me know. I think of Tina often. Your old babysitter and neighbor...
Bryan September 26, 2012 at 05:03 AM
@tara again sorry for your loss & yes 60 is speeding, was an example that people are to blame and a divider wont stop stupid. No one uses a brake its speed up to get around the turning car or that slow car. They need to pass cars safely. If you use a GPS and you will find that doing that extra 5/10 mph it only gets you there a minute or two sooner soo not worth killing someone.
Billabong September 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Try living in Manchester and maybe your eyes will open a bit. Do all populations speed? Yes. Do all populations drive like maniacs? Yes. The difference is that when we all become old our physical and mental abilities diminish. Retesting will save lives - so why don't you tell me the downside of retesting? I'll gladly sign up when I get to an advanced age. The inconvenience is a small price to pay for safer streets.
joanwarrin September 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM
The problem on Rt. 70 isn't the seniors. It is the younger ones who don't have patience, have the need for speed and just don't care. The seniors tend to obey the speed limit. Many times when I travel this road I am going the speed limit, yet people pass. I say test the younger ones and not only seniors,
none ya September 26, 2012 at 05:50 PM
The problem with Rt 70 is that it should be a 4 lane road! Add a divider in the middle if you want, but 2 lanes both directions will make it more safe to pass.
Bryan September 26, 2012 at 07:12 PM
@ none ya..... i agree but we shouldnt have to spend all that money if people would just use their heads! 4 lanes & a divider and what happens when people do 80 in the left lane & 65 in the right & a deer run accross & runs back again?
JayBee September 26, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I think that is why they are removing the trees and poles....
Whiting Folk! September 26, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Widening of Route 70 to 4 lanes should be done from the Exxon station in Dover to Route 539/530 in Whiting. No doubt about it!
Raymond Baron September 27, 2012 at 04:35 PM
People drive crazy on the stretch o frt 70 from 530 to rt 571. they pass on on double lines, ride your bumper and exceed the speed limit. My Wife and I travel quite often on rt 70. I say, put up a median barrier wall for the complete stretch between rt 530 and 571, lower the speed limit to about 45 MPH and put up a few of those Speed measurement units that alerts drivers that they are exceeding the limit. With all of my fellow Seniors traveling this stretch of road daily doing shopping it makes perfect sense to lower the mortality and accident rate in this area of Manchester Township. I'm sure the Township could use some extra revenue from issuing speeding and aggressive driving tickets on this bad stretch of road. Let's start a petition to put some extra measures in place to assure a safe community for all of our residents. I'm new to the area but spent my childhood weekends at my parent's summer home at Pine Lake Park. I love this area but detest the ride on Rt. 70.
unreal September 27, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Ok....what will you do when the wild life in the area start to become traffic hazards when they become trapped in a lane of traffic? The deer along that stretch of road are plentiful and that alone will cause another set of problems. What will they so next?? Put a divider down the middle and chain link fence or concrete walls down the sides?? then people will complain it's too dark at night and then the complaining will start again and they will be looking to install street lights.........
GerryB September 27, 2012 at 11:22 PM
The road needs fo have a barrier. People will always dive poorly! A barrier will save lives.
Da Gr8 1 October 01, 2012 at 04:52 AM
this is asinine. rt 70 needs to be 4 lanes all the wayfrom toms river to marlton. this isnt a country bumpkin road anymore. and there needs to be a light at beckerville road. why cant the town/county/state see this??? how many more needless death should there be to finally fix this. as for the crazy drivers the very old and the very young are mostly at fault on this road. there is no need to be doing 45 mph holding everyone up nor 80 mph weaving in and out passing other cars. if everyone did 55-60 here then the road would be much safer.
Bruce from Burlco November 05, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I drive that road everyday, too. Exactly as you said with one addition: The number of those 70 mph drivers who pass against a solid line is mind-boggling.
Artist/Engineer May 18, 2013 at 02:27 AM
I read finger pointing and moaning. I don't read if there is any way we can pressure Trenton to do something to make Route 70 a safer road through widening and other safety improvements. The traffic load is obviously way too high for a two lane country road. 4 lanes with a Jersey Barrier and intersection improvements all the way along the two lane portions of Route 70 is the only thing that can and will improve safety on this death race road. Who do we contact, who do we pressure, is there a grass roots organization doing something to get the job done?
Ted Nugent June 09, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Move out of NJ - come to Texas where our speed limits are 70 mph MINIMUM. People do the speed limit- no slow poke old people creating bottle necks - people don't need to pass. P.S. Plus - people here are courterous - they pull over to the shoulder and let people pass if they are holding up a line of cars. The whole state of NJ stinks.

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