The vandalism of a flashing stop sign at a dangerous location in Dickinson County has spurred officials to add more reward money to what is typically offered by Crimestoppers of Dickinson County for information.
County Administrator Brad Homman and commissioners were troubled by the vandalism that occurred recently at 2200 Avenue and Jeep Road. The post holding the sign with flashing lights was run over intentionally and the sign itself was driven over and destroyed.
The missing stop sign creates an extreme hazard for motorists, particularly those unfamiliar with the area who do not know they should stop. County officials are particularly aware of the potential for danger when those signs are not in place.
“I’ve mentioned in past conversations that if we get notification there’s a stop sign down in an intersection, we call one of our guys out and they put it up, whether it’s 3 a.m. or a holiday weekend,” Homman said.
Corner for accidents
“In this case, it was knocked down and it is an intersection where we have had accidents prior to putting these up. One involved a school bus and a potential injury to the driver, so we take it very seriously,” Homman explained.
To find the perpetrator, Dickinson County will add $1,000 to any reward offered by Crimestoppers for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.
“Maybe that will get someone’s attention and we can find out who’s responsible and hold them accountable,” Homman said.
Over the past year or so, the county has been installing stop signs with flashing lights at locations that were receiving complaints. The first was installed on Northwest 14th Street and Fair Road, south of Love’s Travel Stop in Abilene soon after the new business opened in July 2018.
“We haven’t had any reports of near misses or accidents at those intersections since we did that — knock on wood,” Homman said.
A new flashing sign has been ordered to replace the destroyed one. “Those signs cost right at $1,000 apiece,” he said. “But more importantly, they (intersections) are extremely dangerous when they’re (signs) not in place.”
County Counselor Doug Thompson said he had information about technology that can be used at highly visible intersections that are being abused. He said the person intentionally running over a sign would likely be surprised upon learning the act was captured on camera.
“They’d be sitting in court at pretty significant expense to them and some potential for jail time,” Thompson said. “As Brad said, if somebody is coming up on the intersection, they’re not familiar with it, does not know they should stop and goes through it, then here’s a family that lost a life simply because of that stupidity.”
Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson said the commission fully supports adding $1,000 to the reward, especially in this instance where it seems the situation was intentional and not just a case of someone driving off the road and accidentally taking out a stop sign.
“With the public safety, there is the lawsuit potential,” Peterson said.
Homman agreed, noting the county was sued a number of years ago over an intersection that didn’t have a sign when an accident resulted in a fatality.
“The evidence is that it can be very dangerous. We want to minimize that as best we can,” he added. “Somebody out there knows who did it. Maybe we can get them to call Crimestoppers and report it anonymously.”
Contact Kathy Hageman at firstname.lastname@example.org.