Aaron Joseph Thomas, 29, was a father and former College of Western Idaho student with “a passion for two-wheeled transportation,” states his obituary printed in Friday’s Statesman.
“He was a legend performing stunts on his BMX bike at Boise skate and bike parks. Recently he built his own motorcycle and enjoyed trips with his friends on his Harley Davidson,” the obituary reads.
The Boise man died Nov. 25 in a crash at an Eagle intersection that’s seen more than a dozen crashes since this spring, and the Ada County Highway District is now planning steps to prevent more crashes.
Westbound on State Street on a motorcycle, Thomas probably had the right-of-way when he was hit by the driver of an eastbound car turning left off State (also Idaho 44) onto Edgewood Lane.
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Thomas had a green light, while the first driver who hit him had a flashing yellow left-turn signal. He was not wearing a helmet at the time.
Thomas worked as a fabricator for Idaho Steel, based in Caldwell, according to the obituary.
The family asked that instead of flowers, mourners donate to a YouCaring fundraising page set up for Thomas’s daughter.
“The Idaho 44/Edgewood intersection has been the site of over a dozen crashes since April, when a blinking yellow turn signal was installed. Most of those crashes occurred when people turning north on to Edgewood from eastbound State Street failed to yield to oncoming traffic,” reported the sheriff’s office in the Nov. 26 press release about Thomas’ death.
“So the flashing yellow arrow was shut down on Friday afternoon (Dec. 2),” said Nicole DuBois, ACHD spokeswoman. “That’s shut down until we can find a more permanent solution to determine how we deal with that intersection.”
ACHD plans to release a proposal about how to handle the intersection sometime this coming week, DuBois said.
The district is currently in talks with the city of Eagle and the Idaho Transportation Department. The agencies could propose changing the signal configuration — adding additional lights or otherwise altering the existing setup — or may even suggest rebuilding the entire intersection, DuBois said.
In the meantime, the district has implemented temporary safety measures. Along with removing the yellow left-turn light, workers put up more flags around the crosswalk to encourage motorists to slow down and pay attention.
“Of course, we would just urge motorists to use caution while we work to improve safety there,” DuBois said.