WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A Washington County man almost lost his daughter in a violent car crash. Fast forward a year later -- and that man is now celebrating a new safety device aimed at stopping this kind of crash from happening. That device is called a "cable guard."
"We were headed to a tennis tournament to watch our daughters. And we showed up to the tournament, and they were not there," said Daren Sievers, whose daughter was hurt in the wreck.
It was July 2018 when Sievers' life changed forever.
"So I called her cellphone and a deputy answered, the first responder to the accident," Sievers said. "A car traveling southbound came clean through the median and struck them head-on as they were traveling 73 miles per hour."
Cellphone photos show the car the two young women were traveling in. Fortunately, the girls survived -- but the other driver did not.
"It takes your breath away. It's the worst thing I've ever experienced by far," Sievers said.
A year later, state and county leaders have funded a new safety measure to prevent crashes like this from happening.
"It took several fatalities and they finally came through and said, 'Yep, it's definitely time to go ahead and put some cable guard up there,'" said Scott Schmidt, Washington County Highway Commissioner.
A cable guard barrier will be built along I-41 in Washington County starting this fall.
"This fall, they're going to get about a mile-and-a-half done from State Highway 144 up to County Highway K. And then next year, they're going to complete the 20-and-a-half-mile stretch of roadway," Schmidt said.
The cable guard is a simple device that does not just keep traffic separated, but also saves lives.
"It's such a great move by the state, and by the county. And we're so grateful as families and parents," Sievers said.
The cable guard is expected to cost $2.4 million. It is completely funded by a series of grants from the federal government -- with the state matching that dollar amount.