High Point firefighter’s widow continues to fight for change

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- This week marks a year since a High Point firefighter was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

The firefighter’s name is Todd Martinez and he was bicycling with his wife, Melanie Harless, near their home in Summerfield when he died.

“It's a long process. It's been the longest year of my life,” said Harless. “I feel like I've been tortured for a long time, but I have to survive. I don't have a choice. I'm moving in the right direction, because it's the only direction I have.”

Harless still smiles every time she talks about her husband, who spent his life helping others.

“I have a different attitude. I have more compassion for people, because I know Todd did. I feel like I have to carry on Todd's legacy, because he's not here to do it himself,” said Harless.

Harless says you can already see the first signs of change on Scalesville Road near the location of Todd’s accident. The North Carolina Department of Transportation recently added two “Share the Road” signs advising drivers to watch for cyclists.

“The request was made in December and we were actually able to get a response back to her very quickly,” said Pat Wilson, division operations engineer at NCDOT.

Wilson says NCDOT staff visited Scalesville Road after receiving Harless’ request and agreed the signs were necessary. The reasons for installing the signs included the width of the road, the fact that there are no paved shoulders, it is curvy and it is a popular route for cyclists.

Wilson encourages others to contact NCDOT if they notice hazardous road conditions.