POINT PLEASANT — Walking into the home of Rusty and Brenda Nott, there is the distinct feeling of absence.
The Nott’s lost their daughter, Sarah Nott, 21, Point Pleasant, in a tragic traffic accident in Gallipolis Ferry last month on W.Va. 2 —a road many feel is one of Mason County’s most dangerous.
A heavily traveled route, especially by Marshall University students like Sarah, W.Va. 2 has had its fair share of tragedies over the years.
In the case of Sarah’s tragic death, Rusty and Brenda feel it possibly could’ve been prevented and hope to raise awareness about it. According to the Notts, Sarah was preparing to exit the parking lot of a convenience store in Gallipolis Ferry, attempting to make a left turn to travel southbound on W.Va. 2 to see a friend. The Notts say Sarah’s vision was blocked by vehicles parked near the highway, including vehicles from a telecommunications company and a semi-truck.
The Notts say Sarah could not see the oncoming truck traveling in the northbound lane of W.Va. 2 when she pulled out of the parking lot. The truck then made contact with Sarah’s vehicle in the crash and she later died from her injuries. Sarah was cited in the accident for failure to yield the right-of-way, but the Notts feel there is more to the story — namely the vehicles they say were blocking her vision.
Whether or not the vehicles in question were parked illegally has not been established. However, the West Virginia Code, section 17C-13-3, subsection 18, addresses stopping or parking being prohibited in specific places — this includes “at any place on any highway where the safety and convenience of the traveling public is thereby endangered.” This seems to be a law not many people are aware of, though many have been affected by it when taking a chance on making a turn and hoping for the best without the benefit of being able to completely see their surroundings. The state’s right-of-way is 25 feet from the centerline of the highway, according to local law enforcement.
The Notts are hoping to raise awareness about what they feel are the dangers on W.Va. 2 — dangers which could apply to other roadways in the county and state. They also want to raise awareness about what they feel happened to their child to prevent something like this from occurring again.
As for their child, Sarah was a 2011 graduate of Point Pleasant High School and a junior honors student studying advertising and communications at Marshall University. She already had an internship lined up this summer to work for the mayor of Huntington.
Brenda said, of course, every parent thinks their child is perfect and special, and she is no different.
“She had a brilliant mind, the world needed her,” Brenda said. “I think Sarah could’ve made a lot of difference in the world.”
Just this week, the Notts received Sarah’s certificate and pin inducting her into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society at Marshall University — a reminder of both the person she was and could have been.