- July 3, 2019
The Ocoee City Commission had a bare-bones agenda for its meeting Tuesday, March 16 – but then the commission heard a powerful plea for help during the public comments section of the night.
Pastor Anthony Oliver, who lost his two daughters — Antoinette Oliver, 30, and Liza Jackson, 25, and three grandchildren Chloe Brent, 5, Olivia Lundy, 3, and Antonio Brent, 5 months — during a fatal traffic crash at the corner of Clarcona-Ocoee Road and Gaymar Drive March 11, was invited by Commissioner George Oliver III to speak to the commission.
“I am heartbroken, but yet I just wish something would be done because I would not want another father or mother to be standing in my shoes,” Anthony Oliver said. “To not just lose one child, but I lost all of my kids — with my grandkids — and I would just like to see something done with lighting over there. It’s a bad corner, and I just think something needs to be done sooner than later.
“I can’t get them back,” he said. “My young granddaughter, Chloe, I can’t get her back — she was my rock in the church. I don’t have anybody to lay their hands on me before I get up and preach like she did.”
The intersection of Clarcona-Ocoee and Gaymar — which sits a mile and a half outside of Ocoee’ city limits and is under Orange County jurisdiction — has become a topic of debate as it has been the center of many wrecks — including a two-vehicle crash that took place just five days after the fatal wreck that took five lives.
For George Oliver, who is of no relation to Anthony Oliver, the event was tragic and his hope is to prevent something like this from happening in and around the city again, he said.
“This is something we have been talking about for months now,” George Oliver said. “I would hate for this tragedy to repeat in our city at Clarke Road and Clarcona-Ocoee because we don’t have a left-turn signal there, and I would hate for this to repeat less than probably 300 yards — or a quarter of a mile — at Ingram and Clarcona-Ocoee, which we have approval for a light, but we’ve been told is going to be pushed back until the fall of this year.
“This could easily have been a tragedy in our city — it could have been any of those intersections,” he continued. “I’m asking that we as the city of Ocoee — the leadership, staff — that we put pressure on the county to expedite the light on Ingram Road, to expedite that left-turn signal on Clarke Road and Clarcona-Ocoee. If we need to send letters or whatever we need to do, I’m asking ... ‘What can we do as elected officials and leadership in the city of Ocoee to expedite these things?’”
While the scene of the accident is out of the city’s jurisdiction, Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Larry Brinson said he would do whatever was necessary to help move Orange County along to help prevent further incidents.
“Normally, I’m the guy behind the scenes, but I’m going to be more vocal on this issue, because, as Commissioner Oliver said — and I think as most people here know that Clarcona-Ocoee turns into West Road — so it is an artery that goes not only through Ocoee and Orlando, but goes even further,” Brinson said. “I’m going to reach out to the county and reach out to (the) Orlando Police Department, because some of this is a matter of enforcement of traffic laws, but some of it is a matter of awareness by the drivers who are driving these vehicles.
“To have a family lose five members all at once is something that is beyond my comprehension,” he said. “I will make that commitment not only to Pastor Oliver, but also to our residents, as well as the residents of the city of Orlando and Orange County to see what can be done. And whatever solutions we can do, hopefully we’ll be able to get those in place as soon as possible.”