Could speed bumps have prevented accident?

July 28, 2009 8:13:00 AM PDT
A driver who admitted being a bit too tired caused damage to a house in Spring. He also believes what used to be on nearby residential streets would have woken him up, had they not been removed. "I just heard a loud bang," recalled resident Robert Garcia.

Garcia woke up to that sound Sunday morning. A neighbor's vehicle plowed through Garcia's lawn, right into his parked truck inside the garage.

"My daughter and her friend, it's a miracle they're alive because my husband's truck was a foot away from the bed," said Garcia's wife, Rosa.

We spoke with the man who was behind the wheel. He refused an on-camera interview, but told us he fell asleep at the wheel after a long night of work and partying. He said he only got two hours of sleep.

"This is where the speed bump was," said neighbor Brittany Jenkins, pointing to a flat portion of the street.

Jenkins, with the Louetta Glen Neighborhood Association, said a simple speed bump may have jolted the driver, waking him up before he crashed. The problem is just weeks after the speed bumps went in, they were removed.

"We had calls from the school district saying that the school buses were not going to come through the neighborhood because it was a safety hazard for the children to go over the speed bumps," said Jenkins.

A spokesperson for Klein ISD said it's been the district's practice for over 20 years not to drive school buses over speed bumps. The district considers doing so "risking injuries to (children)."

The alternative for parents? Bus drops at the subdivision's two main entrances. It's an idea Jenkins said many parents weren't on board with.

"I wouldn't want to leave my 4- or 5-year-old at a bus drop, that's for sure," said Jenkins.

Kipp Degutis' yard was damaged by speeding drivers cutting curbs too quickly, but he also has two daughters who ride the bus. He wants their bus route to stay the same, but also wants his speed bumps back.

"It's a give and take, but we need something in this subdivision," said Degutis.

The neighborhood association spent about $6,000 installing the speed bumps and said they can't afford to reinstall them now.

We contacted six other local school districts and none of them have policies regarding driving school buses over speed bumps, including the Houston Independent School District.

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