Friday, November 16, 2012

EDITORIAL >> Things we’ve wished for

Where are the speed traps when we need them?

Last Sunday morning, sometime around 2 a.m., an automobile failed to negotiate the curve just south of Amy Lane on Harris Road in Jacksonville, plowing into a utility pole and slicing it, not very neatly, into three pieces. Luckily, the pole remained partially suspended, although the power lines drooped alarmingly. Miraculously, power was not cut, but the vehicle ignited. According to neighbors, the driver, Ricky Healy, 23, of Blytheville, appeared stunned but managed to get out of the vehicle unharmed. He was later charged with possession of marijuana. The incident report says he fell asleep at the wheel.

Speeding is commonplace on Harris Road and this was the fourth accident on that curve in recent memory. One was a daytime collision in which the driver was returning from picking up something to eat from Simply Delicious, the North Pulaski High School gourmet luncheonette.

Two others occurred during the wee hours of the morning. In the first, a driver plowed into the yard and house of an elderly couple. Fortunately, they were not injured, but the house needed repairs.

In the second, a young adult who’d imbibed one too many plowed into a yard across the street at Harris and Amy Lane, damaging several trees along with his truck.

Healy probably would have plowed into a home on Harris except for the pole and a strategically placed boulder.

Traffic surveillance on Harris Road is mostly limited to early weekday mornings when those who are late for school can sometimes be caught speeding. For two mornings after the accident that totaled the utility pole, a police car was strategically posted at the entrance to the Pennpointe subdivision, purportedly to catch speeders, who abound on the road.

Residents there say they’ve asked the city to consider installing speed bumps. We think that’s a good idea and it’s high time for such a measure. Let’s not wait for serious injury or a fatality before putting a plan into action.

The planned round-about at Harris and Main might also be helpful, but it seems that speeders see Harris as a thoroughfare to be sped through. The absence of surveillance almost makes that a no-brainer.

Cities along Hwy. 67 south of Pine Bluff once kept their coffers full with speed traps, but a state law prohibited cities from basing their budgets on how much they collected by ticketing.

By the way, utility companies worked on the fractured pole for the next four days. Who pays for that work? Is it factored into our utility rates or will the fellow who hit the pole have to make reparations? If so, that will be to the tune of many thousands of dollars.