Resident expresses concern about speeding trucks
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
“Kids aren’t replaceable, dogs and cats are, but not kids,” Alan Wiseman told the Henry County Board of Supervisors during Tuesday’s meeting. “A five-year-old kid is priceless.”
Wiseman’s concern came from an incident that arose last Wednesday, which left him upset and worried about what could be done to prevent future incidents.
“I work out of town,” said Wiseman. “I was heading to Illinois and my wife called me hysterical. She witnessed a big blue dump truck go by and it was going 65-70 miles per hour by our house. She didn’t let the kids go outside because of the rocks that were flying around. She was getting ready to leave and called for our dogs, we have two Chihuahuas, and found one of them in the middle of the road.
“I understand that my dogs will get hit, my cats will get hit, I live in the country. I’m not here today about that. I’m here about the direct reflection on Henry County with these trucks because they are contracted to haul rock (Douds rock quarry). It’s ludicrous to be going 65-70. A dog is a dog, but a kid isn’t replaceable, you can’t bring them back,” Wiseman expressed to the board.
According to Wiseman, when he returned home from Illinois he made a phone call to Merlin (Boshart), and didn’t receive any satisfaction there.
“He told me he could sit in his truck and watch them, but I knew nothing would happen because they would slow down because he was out there,” said Wiseman. “That’s fine and great, but something else needs to happen. I called dispatch, well 911, and told them it was non-life threatening emergency, but wanted to have something done. Others have called the sheriff’s department as well.”
Wiseman stated that he did see a deputy sitting in one of the residents’ driveway, but at that time the trucks were no longer out there.
“From what I saw, the deputy needed to be sitting at Pleasant Lawn. Someone else told me that they saw the trucks blow through the stop signs over there. According to what I was told, the guy had to stop even though he had the right-of-way,” said Wiseman. “I called the quarry to let them know what was happening and I was told that they were having trouble with the drivers not listening.”
On Thursday, the trucks were in the Trenton area and there were issues with the trucks there as well.
“I had someone, who lives in the Trenton area, tell me that he thought the trucks were racing because of how they were coming to a stop at the stop signs,” said Wiseman. “One slammed on the breaks and slid into the intersection. Now, that’s what was perceived, so whether that’s true or not, I don’t know.”
According to Wiseman, the sheriff’s department received calls Tuesday morning about the trucks speeding on the gravel roads near New London.
“What point can we say that enough is enough?” asked Wiseman. “It’s a big deal to all of us who live out there. When it costs someone a life, animals are replaceable, but kids aren’t. People can’t even let their kids play outside because the trucks were going by so fast. I just wanted to bring this to everyone’s attention and see if something can be done.”
Chairman Marc Lindeen said, “The trucks aren’t contracted by Henry County, they are contracted by the quarry, but you do bring up legitimate concerns and for our future we need to have a discussion about this. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention. I think that it’s (rock hauling) almost done for the year, but it’s not okay. We will try to get ahold of our engineer Jake (Hotchkiss) and have him talk with Rich McNamee (county sheriff) and see what can be done.
“For the future we will have a discussion with Jake and discuss what our expectations will be for our rock hauling contracts,” Lindeen concluded.
Board member Gary See added, “Our engineer (Hotchkiss) would not approve of this. I know him pretty well and I know he won’t tolerate it.”
Wiseman thanked the board for listening to his concerns and concluded with, “Besides worrying about the kids, it’s a reflection on Henry County. When people see the county trucks they have respect for them and so if something is wrong, it looks bad for the county. You don’t want to ruin that.”
A call to the News office Wednesday from Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss stated that no one has been ticketed for speeding.
“It’s typical of these big trucks to look like they are speeding,” said Hotchkiss. “But no one has been ticketed as of yet.”
In other board news, the engineer gave his weekly update to the board, which included spraying for noxious weeds, mowing, pulling shoulders in, contract rock hauling, territory blading and some patching of roads.
Hotchkiss then discussed the Oasis Avenue bridge project, the 150th Street project and the project on 320th Street near Lowell with the board.
“The contractor will be pouring the abutments on the bridge today (Tuesday) and working on the false work in order to put the deck in,” said Hotchkiss. “I also talked with landowners last week and hope to this week concerning our project on 150th Street. I will be coming before the board sometime soon to set a letting date for that project. Finally, the project on 320th Street near Lowell will be started soon.
“That project is our last FEMA project and we will go through and fix the road top as is and do a patch fix because that is what FEMA is willing to put into the game,” said Hotchkiss.
The Henry County Board of Supervisors will meet again on Thursday, May 29, at 9 a.m. in the board room at the courthouse.