Arlington Residents Fear Speeding Drivers Threaten Neighborhood Safety
Updated 1/30/17 at 4:08 p.m.
An Arlington resident witnessed a speeding SUV plow into his neighbor’s yard a couple weeks ago. It slammed into the parked cars and missed the neighbor by a few feet.
Tim Pearson was outside when a black Tahoe hurled into his neighbor’s cars. He had come outside to see his neighbor walking around in the garden. Seconds later, there was a loud crashing sound.
“As I looked down, there was this most almighty explosion and it was horrific. As I looked back up, there was this plume of dust and dirt and debris flying off of the vehicles and really it scared the living daylights out of me,” he said. “… This car just came in and I was terrified I was going to come over here and see him flat, it was that bad.”
While the neighbor avoided being run over, both of his cars were totaled. Pearson said in the past year alone there have been several accidents, but feels this has been the worst one in the 10 years he’s lived here. According to JSO, there were five crashes in the area since January 2016, including three in the past month. Only one crash in 2016 resulted injuries, and three were hit-and-run incidents.
Arlington Councilwoman Joyce Morgan said she’s aware of drivers speeding through the area. They often try to avoid traffic lights on Rogero Road by using the intersection of Pine Summit Drive East and May Apple Road as a pass-through.
Meanwhile, the remains of a red truck rests in Pearson’s neighbor’s front yard. In front of it, a small silver car has been shoved into the front wall of a cream block house. The unmarked pavement bares no signs of braking.
People slow down to view the leftover wreckage. A few pull over to ask what happened before driving off, but most barely slow down at the intersection’s stop sign to make their turn.
Morgan said the quickest way to prevent further accidents in the area is to send officers to catch any violators who might be cutting through side streets.
“To calm traffic in any other way would take a while. To put speed bumps in would require a petition from the neighborhood with at least 75 percent signing it and the neighbors have to pay for it,” Morgan said.
She said she can also see if the neighborhood qualifies for reduced speed limits, which can take weeks to months to approve. It follows the same procedure as speed bumps and requires a petition from the neighborhood.
But Morgan said she hasn’t received any calls regarding the intersection’s safety.
The neighbor YaimaTarrios said she’s scared and wants to move.
Tarrios points to the wall the silver car hit. “If the two cars hadn’t been there, it would have gone through my daughter’s room,” she said.
Down the street caution tape dangles from a broken fence hit just 10 days earlier. Pearson said someone stole a car and sped past his house before it crashed through a neighbor’s fence a few houses down.
“There are so many accidents like this. It’s just one of a plethora and you can’t report them all, but I want to give the city a head’s up. Next time it may be more serious,” Pearson said.
Pearson and Tarrios want their neighbors to call the city or else they feel nothing is going to happen.
Editor's note: This article was updated with total crash totals from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Intern Serena Summerfield can be reached at email@example.com, 904-358-6317 or Twitter @sumserfield.