LAVERNE JUNKER
CITY OF CEDAR FALLS
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT

 

See also: Laverne Junker Cedar Falls PD Report


(Pages 334-354)

9 MR. WADDING: Call Laverne Junker to the

10 stand, Your Honor.

 

11 LAVERNE JUNKER,

 

12 called as a witness on behalf of the state, being first

13 duly sworn by the court, was examined and testified as

14 follows:

 

15 COURT: Will you please state your full name.

 

16 WITNESS: Laverne Junker.

 

17 COURT: How do you spell your first name?

 

18 WITNESS: L-A-V-E-R-N-E.

 

19 COURT: And your last name?

 

20 WITNESS: Junker, J-U-N-K-E-R.

 

21 COURT: Thank you. Mr. Wadding?

 

22 DIRECT EXAMINATION

 

23 BY MR. WADDING:

 

24 Q. Would you please state your occupation, sir.

 

25 A. I'm a traffic operations manager.

 

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1 Q. And for who do you perform those services?

 

2 A. City of Cedar Falls.

 

3 Q. And how long have you held that position?

 

4 A. Almost 28 years.

 

5 Q. And could you just briefly describe what you

6 do?

 

7 A. I take care of the traffic signals, traffic

8 signs, painting of the streets, building maintenance.

 

9 Q. And are you familiar with the traffic control

10 devices at Greenhill Road and South Main -- excuse me,

11 Greenhill Road and Highway 58 in Cedar Falls?

 

12 A. Yes.

 

13 Q. And how are you familiar with those?

 

14 A. I turned them on and did the inspection and

15 take care of them.

 

16 Q. Now -- and are you familiar with how they

17 operate?

 

18 A. Yes.

 

19 Q. And when I ask how they operate, do -- are

20 there traffic lights that you turn to a flashing mode

21 from time to time or every night?

 

22 A. We turn them to flash every night.

 

23 Q. Okay. And is this the only set that you

24 would do that on?

 

25 A. No. We have probably half of the traffic

 

335

 

1 signals that flash at night.

 

2 Q. And with this particular controlled device at

3 that intersection, Highway 58 and Greenhill Road, what --

4 what times does that turn to flash?

 

5 A. It goes to flash at 10 o'clock at night and

6 off at 6:30.

 

7 Q. And how long -- how long have they been

8 turned to flash at 10 o'clock at night?

 

9 A. Always.

 

10 Q. Since their inception?

 

11 A. Yeah. About -- I think it was about four

12 months after we turned them on that we started flashing

13 them.

 

14 Q. And do you recall when -- when that would

15 be -- when that would have been?

 

16 A. The time that we started flashing them?

 

17 Q. Yes.

 

18 A. I did write that. April 20th, '94, we

19 started flashing them at night.

 

20 Q. And did you have any problems or concerns

21 about their operation on October 4th, 1996?

 

22 A. No.

 

23 Q. Didn't you have any maintenance issues on or

24 after or before that?

 

25 A. No.

336

 

1 Q. And to your knowledge, were they operating as

2 designed on October 4th, 1996?

 

3 A. Yes.

 

4 Q. And would that include that they went into

5 flash mode at approximately 10 o'clock p.m.?

 

6 A. Yes.

 

7 Q. And could you describe what -- how that would

8 control the intersection, if you understand my question,

9 what -- what --

 

10 A. What flashes which colors?

 

11 Q. Yes.

 

12 A. Highway 58 flashes yellow and Greenhill Road

13 flashes red.

 

14 Q. And can you describe how that would enter

15 into its sequence to flash, how that would end the

16 sequence and then go into flash?

 

17 A. When the clock says to go into flash at

18 10 o'clock, and the traffic signal is in a green for Main

19 Street, it will call it to the Greenhill Road and make it

20 for a minimum timing if there's only one, if there's no

21 car there or if there is one car, and finish that

22 sequence by going into its yellow, then to its red, and

23 then it will start flashing. If it happens to be green

24 for Greenhill Road when the time asks for it to go into

25 flash, it will finish that sequence out and then go into

 

337

 

1 its flashing mode.

 

2 Q. Okay. And would that take place within

3 minutes of 10 o'clock?

 

4 A. Well, it -- again, it depends on when the --

5 where the controllers at when the 10 o'clock time asks

6 for it, but it would probably be within a minute or

7 minute and a half.

 

8 Q. So anywhere from 10 o'clock to 10:01 or 10:02

9 it would go into the flashing mode?

 

10 A. Yes.

 

11 Q. Okay. Now, are you -- how is the

12 intersection at South Main and Greenhill Road controlled?

 

13 A. How do you mean how is it controlled?

 

14 Q. Is it stop signs? Stoplights?

 

15 A. Oh, with a traffic control signal.

 

16 Q. And does that at any time go into a flashing

17 mode?

 

18 A. Yes, it does.

 

19 Q. Do you know when that does?

 

20 A. 11 o'clock at night.

 

21 Q. And could you describe what -- how -- what

22 color the lights are that controls that intersection when

23 it's in a flashing mode?

 

24 A. Yeah. Greenhill has the flashing yellow, and

25 South Main gets the flashing red.

 

338

 

1 Q. And do you know if there were any problems

2 with that traffic signal on October 4th, 1996?

 

3 A. Not that I know of.

 

4 MR. WADDING: That's all the questions I

5 have. Thank you.

 

6 COURT: Mr. Correll?

 

7 MR. CORRELL: Thank you.

 

8 CROSS-EXAMINATION

 

9 BY MR. CORRELL:

 

10 Q. Mr. Junker, with regard to that intersection

11 out there, if you go back from -- to the east from

12 Greenhill Road, is it a fact that Greenhill ultimately

13 goes pretty much straight east and then bends around and

 

14 ultimately hooks up with -- or goes under and hooks up

15 with University in Waterloo?

 

16 A. Say that again.

 

17 Q. Greenhill Road goes on over from Cedar Falls

18 to the east into Waterloo; is that correct?

 

19 A. Yes.

 

20 Q. And it -- some place in Waterloo a little bit

21 to the east of the YMCA it hooks up with University -- or

22 there are exit ramps to University; is that correct?

 

23 A. Right about a mile or two miles down the

24 road, something like that.

 

25 Q. And the distance, basically the distance from

339

 

1 Highway 58 to where Greenhill turns north in Waterloo

2 would be about five miles; would that be about right?

 

3 A. I would suppose, or a few miles that --

 

4 Q. And when -- when you're going across

5 Greenhill from the east to the west in the city of Cedar

6 Falls, there are at least three intersections that are

7 controlled by stoplights, are there not?

 

8 A. Yes.

 

9 Q. Is it -- is it exactly three?

 

10 A. There's one at Cedar Heights and Greenhill,

11 South Main and then 58.

 

12 Q. So there are exactly three in Cedar Falls?

 

13 A. Yes.

 

14 Q. And are those traffic lights, are those -- on

 

15 Greenhill Road, are those provided by the Iowa Department

16 of Transportation?

17 A. They installed them for us.

 

18 Q. And who -- who owns them?

 

19 A. The city of Cedar Falls.

 

20 Q. And who controls them and sets how they're

21 supposed to operate?

 

22 A. I do.

 

23 Q. And so even though the D.O.T. installs them,

24 they don't tell you how you should set them?

 

25 A. No.

 

340

 

1 Q. Would that be a fair statement?

 

2 A. Right.

 

3 Q. And that is a decision that you have -- you

4 basically make by yourself; is that correct?

 

5 A. Yes.

 

6 Q. And that is in conjunction with your other

7 responsibilities at the city including maintenance,

8 building maintenance responsibilities?

 

9 A. Yes.

 

10 Q. And am I correct to say that you are not a

11 traffic engineer by training?

 

12 A. Right.

 

13 Q. So the setting of these lights is based on

14 your experience in the city of Cedar Falls?

 

15 A. Yes.

 

16 Q. When you -- the first intersection that you

17 would come to of those three would be Greenhill and Cedar

18 Heights; is that correct?

 

19 A. Yes.

 

20 Q. And that would be maybe two miles to the east

21 of the intersection of South Main?

 

22 A. Yes.

 

23 Q. Tell me if you have a different mileage. I'm

24 just approximating that.

 

25 A. I would say it's probably two miles or a mile

 

341

 

1 and a half to two miles.

 

2 Q. And that is a light -- does that light go

3 ever to flashing?

 

4 A. No.

 

5 Q. That is a light that is always monitored

6 solid -- a solid ball color --

 

7 A. Yeah.

 

8 Q. -- red, yellow or green?

 

9 A. Yes.

 

10 Q. And is that a -- just a judgment that you've

11 made that there is no reason to change that light?

 

12 A. Yes.

 

13 Q. When you come down highway -- Greenhill Road

14 from east to the west and you get to South Main, that

15 light goes on to flashing at 11 o'clock?

 

16 A. Yes.

 

17 Q. And prior to 11 o'clock is not Greenhill Road

18 considered the predominant or the more heavily traveled

19 road?

 

20 A. Greenhill Road?

 

21 Q. Greenhill as opposed to South Main?

 

22 A. Yes.

 

23 Q. And is not the intersection of Greenhill and

24 South Main set so that the dominant light is that there

25 is a green light for people going from the east to the

 

342

 

1 west as they pass through the South Main intersection?

 

2 A. Yes.

 

3 Q. And so it is far most likely that somebody

4 going west on Greenhill is going to have a green light as

5 they go through the intersection of South Main; isn't

6 that the most likely scenario?

 

7 A. Yes.

 

8 Q. And at 11 o'clock or before that would be a

9 solid green light, not a flashing green light, wouldn't

10 it?

 

11 A. Right.

 

12 Q. And only after 11 o'clock would it become a

13 flashing green light?

 

14 A. Yes.

 

15 Q. When the --

 

16 COURT: Flashing yellow? Flashing yellow or

17 flashing green?

 

18 MR. CORRELL: Maybe I should rephrase that.

 

19 Q. When you're going from Greenhill, and you

20 recognize this as South Main here?

 

21 A. Okay. Yes.

 

22 Q. Take a moment to orient yourself.

 

23 A. Uh-huh.

 

24 Q. Before -- before 11 o'clock, this light that

25 is right here, South Main and Greenhill at 11 o'clock,

 

343

 

1 before it's a solid green/solid red, correct?

 

2 A. Right. It's in regular, normal operation.

 

3 Q. And the normal operation is going to be a

4 green light because Greenhill is recognized as the

5 predominant road; is that correct?

 

6 A. Yes. With the exception as a pre-timed

7 controller.

 

8 Q. But it is primarily set for it's green for

9 Greenhill?

 

10 A. It's set longer for Greenhill Road.

 

11 Q. That is because South Main, once you get past

12 here a little farther south of this, South Main is a dead

13 end street, isn't it?

 

14 A. Yes.

 

15 Q. So then when people are going to the west

16 after it flashes, they don't come to -- they aren't asked

17 to come to a stop because it is a yellow flashing light

18 that would be facing the westbound traffic; is that

19 correct?

 

20 A. Right.

 

21 Q. Now, as they come down here, the road shows a

22 slight bit of a turn; would you -- is that consistent

23 with your recollection?

 

24 A. Yes.

 

25 Q. If the road was -- a person would go straight

344

 

1 on this, they would end up somewhere here. They have to

2 make the adjustments to follow the road, don't they?

 

3 A. Yes.

 

4 Q. Now, there are no warning signs that indicate

5 on this stretch, between this stretch and this stretch,

6 that they are approaching lights; isn't that correct?

 

7 A. Right.

 

8 Q. Up here on this road, as they are approaching

9 from the north to the south on Highway 58, there are

10 those kinds of signs, aren't there?

 

11 A. Yes.

 

12 Q. Can you see up here, and there's one

13 basically in the median and one just right to the right

14 of the driver portion of the road, isn't there?

 

15 A. I know there's one on the right, but I don't

16 know about the median.

 

17 Q. Okay. Do you see that --

 

18 A. Uh-huh.

 

19 Q. -- black dot there? Would that be the

20 location of where that sign is that alerts the person?

 

21 A. Probably.

 

22 Q. Could you -- with the court's permission,

23 could I ask you to mark, if you, in fact, know that there

24 is a sign there; do you know that?

 

25 A. Yes, I'm sure there is.

345

 

1 Q. And would you mark with this yellow Magic

 

2 Marker where that sign is on Exhibit "A".

 

3 A. Where I think it is?

 

4 Q. Yes, sir.

 

5 A. Okay. (Complied.)

 

6 Q. And was it your decision to put a sign --

7 would that be part of your job decisions or

8 responsibilities?

 

9 A. No. That's the D.O.T.'s.

 

10 Q. And with regard to the area over here, were

11 you consulted as to why there was no similar type of sign

12 between South Main and Highway 58 up --

 

13 A. No.

 

14 Q. Are you familiar with that intersection, the

15 kind of the crown on the -- or there's kind of the hill

16 that is at the intersection of South Main and Greenhill

17 Road?

 

18 A. You mean just like right here?

 

19 Q. Yes.

 

20 A. Yeah.

 

21 Q. And it doesn't show on that map, but there is

22 a hill where once you get a little past the intersection

23 you start going down a hill; isn't that correct?

 

24 A. Yes.

 

25 Q. And you don't know the grade of that hill

 

346

 

1 or --

 

2 A. No, I don't.

 

3 Q. There are no rumble strips on either

4 Greenhill or Highway 58; isn't that correct?

 

5 A. No.

 

6 Q. And isn't it a fact that the reason that the

7 lights go from the solid to the flashing is basically

8 designed for the convenience of drivers?

 

9 A. Yes.

 

10 Q. And it is to improve or increase the traffic

11 flow? Is that a fair statement?

 

12 A. Well, not to increase it. Just for the in --

13 so that the people don't have to stop all the time at

14 night.

 

15 Q. Would you agree that an intersection that is

16 controlled by a flashing signal is a -- a more dangerous

17 as far as traffic accident experience than an

18 intersection that is controlled by a solid light?

 

19 MR. WADDING: Well, I'm going to object to

20 that, Your Honor. First of all, that it's irrelevant;

21 second of all, there's improper foundation laid that this

22 person can give an opinion of that nature. As a matter

23 of fact, I think it's to the contrary. Even Mr. Correll

24 had asked this witness if he was a traffic engineer, and

 25 he indicated he was not, that he was in charge of the

 

347

 

1 maintenance and the operation of these signals and not in

2 a position to give an opinion of that nature.

 

3 COURT: Overruled. You may answer if you are

4 able to.

 

5 A. What is the question again?

 

6 MR. CORRELL: May I re-ask it?

 

7 COURT: Go ahead.

 

8 Q. Isn't it a fact, sir, that a blinking light

9 is more confusing to drivers than a solid light?

 

10 A. I don't believe so.

 

11 Q. Isn't that what the literature indicates

 

12 however?

 

13 A. None -- none of the literature I've ever read

14 says one is more dangerous than the other. I -- I

15 personally think that when the traffic is very heavy,

16 then you would for sure want traffic signals, and that's

17 why you put them in. But when traffic is lighter,

18 flashing is acceptable.

 

19 Q. Isn't it correct that within approximately a

20 two and a half mile road on Greenhill Road there are

21 three D.O.T. traffic lights and they're all governed

22 differently?

 

23 A. From where again?

 

24 Q. If we go back here from Highway 58 on

25 Greenhill to Cedar Heights, there's three traffic lights,

 

348

 

1 and they all look the same, right?

 

2 A. Yes.

 

3 Q. And they're all run differently? Is that not

4 correct?

 

5 A. How do you mean by differently?

 

6 Q. Well, the first place at Cedar Heights, Cedar

7 Heights is a highway -- or a roadway that goes north and

8 south, correct?

 

9 A. Uh-huh.

 

10 Q. And Cedar Heights, that never goes to

11 flashing, does it?

 

12 A. Cedar Heights, no.

 

13 Q. And that is different than South Main which

14 does go to flashing?

 

15 A. (Nodding.)

 

16 Q. Correct?

 

17 A. Yes.

 

18 Q. And South Main is different than Highway 58

19 because it goes flashing at a different hour or different

20 time?

 

21 A. Right.

 

22 Q. Is that a fair statement?

 

23 A. Uh-huh.

 

24 Q. Do you know the distance of between South

25 Main and Highway 58?

349

 

1 A. I would say approximately four blocks.

 

2 Q. Do you know the speed limit at -- on

3 Greenhill Road?

 

4 A. That is 45.

 

5 Q. And do you know the speed limit on south --

 

6 58?

 

7 A. 55.

 

8 Q. And is not that the only intersection in

9 Cedar Falls that has speed limits that high that is

10 controlled by flashing lights?

 

11 A. You mean like on the Highway 58? Or --

 

12 Q. Yeah. There are just no other intersections

13 in the city of Cedar Falls where a 45 miles-an-hour road

14 crosses a 55 miles-an-hour road on flashing lights?

 

15 A. Yes.

 

16 Q. Isn't that the fact?

 

17 A. Yes.

 

18 MR. CORRELL: That's all the questions I

19 have.

 

20 COURT: Mr. Wadding?

 

21 REDIRECT EXAMINATION

 

22 BY MR. WADDING:

 

23 Q. Are there other traffic control devices on

24 Highway 58 that are controlled by flashing -- in flashing

25 mode?

350

 

1 A. Yes.

 

2 Q. And what are those intersections?

 

3 A. Ridgeway, Viking Road, Greenhill Road and

4 University Avenue, Waterloo Road and 18th Street.

 

5 Q. And University, Waterloo Road and 18th

6 Street, they're -- they're not up on the expressway at

7 that level, are they?

 

8 A. Right. They're a diamond interchange -- or

9 diamond shaped.

 

10 Q. You get off on an exit ramp on those, right?

 

11 A. Yes.

 

12 Q. And when -- what's the speed limit -- but

13 Highway 58 direct -- actually intersects Viking Road and

14 Ridgeway directly, right?

 

15 A. Yes.

 

16 Q. There's no exit ramps for them?

 

17 A. Right.

 

18 Q. What's the speed limits for Ridgeway and

19 Viking Road?

 

20 A. I don't remember.

 

21 Q. Okay. Does -- would they be --

22 MR. CORRELL: Excuse me. I'm going to

23 object. It's going to be leading if he doesn't remember.

24 MR. WADDING: I don't think I asked the

25 question, Your Honor.

 

351

 

1 COURT: Finish your question.

 

2 Q. The -- do you know if they exceed the speed

3 limit on Greenhill Road?

 

4 A. I don't believe so.

 

5 Q. Okay. And do you know if -- whether or not

6 they're less than the speed limit at Greenhill Road?

 

7 A. That I don't know.

 

8 Q. Okay. Now, the -- when we talk about -- how

9 far away is Cedar Heights -- is it Cedar Heights Drive?

 

10 A. Yes.

 

11 Q. Intersection from the South Main

12 intersection?

 

13 A. Either a mile or a mile and a half.

 

14 Q. Okay. Can you see the Cedar Heights

15 intersection from South Main?

16 A. Not eastbound, not -- not right at the

17 intersection. You have to go over -- a little over that

18 crown of the --

 

19 Q. Say I'm going westbound from Cedar Heights,

20 can I see South Main, from Cedar Heights to South Main?

 

21 A. I -- I don't think you can.

 

22 Q. Now, from South Main, I can see -- can I see

23 Greenhill and 58?

 

24 A. Yes.

 

25 Q. Okay. And at what point in time can I see

 

352

 

1 Greenhill and 58?

 

2 A. When can you see this one from there?

 

3 Q. From this intersection.

4 A. Right where you have your finger, about right

5 at the crown of the --

 

6 Q. Just cresting and coming into the

7 intersection, right?

 

8 A. Coming into the intersection.

 

9 Q. Okay. So you see - Cedar Heights you see,

10 and you pass Cedar Heights, then you come on South Main,

11 and you see South Main, and then you get up to South

12 Main, and then you can see Greenhill?

 

13 A. Yes.

 

14 Q. Okay. It's not exactly like there's a

15 traffic control signal on every block; is that a fair

16 statement?

 

17 A. Right.

 

18 Q. And there was one other question about the

19 lights on Greenhill Road and South Main I wanted to ask

20 you. You said that it was on green mode longer. What

21 does that mean?

 

22 A. It's a pre-timed controller. In other words,

23 it runs constantly. It cycles all the time. So the -- I

24 have -- for Greenhill Road is like 40 seconds of green

25 time. Then for the other one it's -- it would be, I

 

353

 

1 believe, 15 -- yeah, 15 seconds for north/south and

2 40 seconds for east/west.

 

3 Q. So people traveling on a green on South Main

4 have 15 seconds to get through?

 

5 A. They have 15 seconds of green.

 

6 Q. There's 15 seconds of green. There's 40

7 seconds of green on Greenhill?

 

8 A. Yes.

 

9 Q. That's irregardless whether you've got a lot

10 of traffic or no traffic?

 

11 A. Yes.

 

12 Q. So it isn't triggered by the traffic?

 

13 A. It's not triggered by traffic.

 

14 MR. WADDING: That's all the questions I

15 have. Thank you.

 

16 COURT: Mr. Correll?

 

17 MR. CORRELL: Nothing further, Your Honor.

 

18 COURT: Counsel have any objection if I ask a

19 question? I don't think it has any bearing on the case,

20 but I'm curious about something.

 

21 MR. CORRELL: No, no objection.

 

22 MR. WADDING: No objection.

 

23 COURT: Does the timer take into account

24 daylight savings time changes, or is that something that

25 you would have to change manually?

 

354

 

1 WITNESS: That's something I change.

 

2 COURT: Anything further based on that, Mr.

3 Wadding?

 

4 MR. WADDING: Well, on -- I guess I will ask

5 this question.

 

6 FURTHER REDIRECT EXAMINATION

 

7 BY MR. WADDING:

 

8 Q. On October 4th, 1996, would that light have

9 changed at 10 o'clock p.m. to flashing mode?

 

10 A. It would at 10 o'clock.

11 Q. At Greenhill and Highway 58?

 

12 A. Yes.

 

13 COURT: Mr. Correll?

 

14 MR. CORRELL: No further questions.

 

15 COURT: Okay. Thank you. Let's take a

16 little recess until 1:30. Do you have another witness

17 lined up at 1:30, Mr. Wadding?

 

18 MR. WADDING: Yeah. I've got a witness that

19 I'm holding over from the morning, Your Honor.

20 (At which time a recess was taken at

 

21 12:13 p.m., May 14, 1997; and proceedings commenced at

22 1:33 p.m., May, 14, 1997, with the court, counsel and

23 defendant present.)

update 12/20/16