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Neighbors concerned about speeding, troopers increasing patrols

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - West Virginia State Police said troopers are increasing patrols in the Black Betsy Bottom Road area of Putnam County after multiple reports of speeding and drag racing in the neighborhood.

Holly Buscher has lived in the area for years, and said the problem has gotten much worse over the past couple of months. A dog was hit and killed by a speeder and residents have stopped walking and biking along the road due to the fast moving traffic, Buscher said. She no longer allows her four-year-old son to leave their front porch to play in the yard because of the issue.

“As a parent, I’m terrified because, like I said, it takes two seconds for somebody to cut loose and come through my yard,” Buscher said. “This is a residential area. This is not interstate.”

“When they line up side by side on this road and they take off down that way going about 50 or 60 mph racing, that’s dangerous,” Buscher said. “That is real dangerous, especially if you have somebody coming down from that direction, somebody is going to get hit head on.”

First Sgt. M.L. Simpson said troopers are patrolling the area, whenever they do not have other calls, to respond to in an effort to slow traffic down. Simpson said they have issued multiple citations for speeding in the area.

Buscher said the law enforcement presence has helped, but people still drive too fast when troopers are not there. She is now asking officials to install additional speed limit signs to remind people to drive 25 mph through the area, as well as extend speed bumps that are on the road further up in Bancroft.

The speeders have crashed into a number of cars and damaged property, Buscher said. That includes running over the gas meter at the end of the street and causing a leak.

The property’s owner, Larry Hill, had to pay $3,600 to fix the gas meter because the driver drove off in the middle of the night after the crash. Hill said he is thankful there was not a large explosion from the leak, but incidents like this wouldn’t happen if people followed the speed limit.

“If they had small kids and they feared for them, their safety or their life, they would think a little more about the speeding situation as we do as residents, not as people working or coming through the community,” Hill said. “It would be a little bit better for them to think about. If it was my kid, would I want someone speeding around them? No, I don’t think they would.”

A spokesperson for the West Virginia Department of Highways (DOH) said speed limit enforcement is a law enforcement function, but the DOH routinely evaluates signage in different areas to make sure it’s appropriate to assist them in enforcing the limit.

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