'Even worse': Why are there so many crashes on Apopka-Vineland Road?

An intersection in Orange County is at the center of a FOX 35 investigation – Apopka-Vineland Road and Darlene Drive. Thousands drive on this road every day and data shows there have been thousands of crashes there over the years.

Why? And what can be done to slow drivers and make it a safer roadway?

Those who live in the area have an opinion on Apopka-Vineland Road, a popular 17-mile roadway that stretches from Orange County to Osceola County.

"There's a lot of people that are going so fast and they cut you off," said Debbie Negrete.

"It's always pretty dangerous. You have to be very careful," said Nicholas, Chorgolashvili.

A few weeks ago, five people were hurt in a crash at Apopka-Vineland Road and Darlene Drive. Witnesses said one of the drivers in that crash sped through a red light and crashed into another vehicle.

Days before that crash, there was another crash at that same intersection.

"I was 15 seconds away from that being me. The shock of seeing that happen," said Jacob Ellis, who witnessed the first crash.

FHP said the driver making the turn failed to yield to the other driver. Regardless, trooper Migdalisis Garcia said the crash could have been avoided if drivers had slowed down. 

"It shocks me that people are still driving that way after knowing the consequences of speeding," she told FOX 35.

"If the driver was traveling at a lower rate of speed the crash could have been avoided for sure," she said. 

According to Metroplan Orlando, a planning organization for Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties, there have been 3,143 crashes on Apopka-Vineland Road between 2013-2022. Of those 3,100 crashes, at least 10 people died.

In July 2023, there were 78 reported crashes. Compared to 10 years ago, there were 68 crashes reported. That breaks down to about two crashes a month at this one intersection, according to FHP.

"I think it's got even worse," said Negrete.

In 2013, two teens on their bikes were struck by a vehicle and hurt. In 2017, a man was killed in a hit-and-run crash.

Last year, a young driver was clocked going 96 mph on Apopka-Vineland near Olympia High. The speed limit is 45 mph. He told deputies he did not want to be late for school.

"At the end of the day its accountability. I never see any cops on the road," said driver Connor Schwartz. However, Ellis said he does see law enforcement monitoring.

FHP said traffic enforcement details happen at least two times a month. Speeding tickets start at $166. Those cited driving 30 mph above the limit can be arrested and pay an even higher fine.