Two automobile crashes occurred in the same night because a stop sign was missing from Cane Creek Road South where it comes out on Highway 334 or what is commonly known as Toccopola Road. In both cases the autos went into the field beyond causing extensive damage to the vehicles.
“They were lucky no one was coming down Highway 334 when this happened,” said second district supervisor Mike McGregor. “Or it could have been a different outcome, even the loss of life. I figure it did some $2,000 damage to the ladies vehicle that I came out and saw. She was the first wreck that occurred between six and seven last Tuesday [Feb. 4]. The other wreck occurred in the wee hours of Wednesday morning [Feb. 5].”
Sign theft is a problem the supervisors deal with every day, and it is not just that the roads need to be marked so you know where you are going, the emergency vehicles like fire and ambulance rely on these signs to get to your home quickly.
Supervisors are asking you the public to the eyes and mouth when it comes to curtailing this problem. There are certain roads in particular that the board has trouble keeping road signs on and they are asking that you use your cell phone and report any suspicious activity around road signs and certainly call if you see someone dragging one off or taking it from the post.
First district supervisor Wayne Stokes said he is constantly putting up road signs on the following roads, “Baggett, Thomas, Barton, Tutor and Cario Loop and I have had a lot of stop signs stolen as well.” He is a volunteer on the Ecru Fire Department and he knows the importance of signs even though he knows the roads. “Every minute counts,” he said. “We may have to call Algoma Fire Department out to help us with a fire and they don’t know the roads like we do. The same can be said if our department went down to Algoma. Those road signs are important. One day it may be your life in jeopardy so you need to think twice before stealing them.”
In district two McGregor said that he is constantly replacing the following road signs: “Cane Creek, Big Hill, Waldo, Piney Grove, Boy Scout Camp, Warren Lane, Hobby Coop and Harris just to name a few. In fact, I think I replaced the Big Hill Road sigh about ten times this past summer.”
Brad Ward, who oversees the third district, said he is constantly replacing “Aron, Palestine, Topsy, Oak Forrest and Timber. I haven’t had many stop signs stolen, mostly just name signs, and most o these they can break off and get it.
“But we are having to spend tax payers money to replace them. We have put them up in a day and they were stolen by that night. Emergency vehicles are the main reason it is important that these stay in place,” he said.
In the fourth district, Ernie Wright said he has to replace a number of signs including those for the roads of: “Crump, Sims Gin,Kings Highway, Coopers Crossing, Topp Lane, Moses Lane, Vaughn Road, Floyd Road, New Hope Road and Hall Road.
“If you have a sign from my district, if you will call me I’ll come and pick it up,” he noted.
Fifth district supervisor Dan McKnight said he is continuously putting up signs on: “Fox Hollow, Good Food, Beagle Club, Wicker and Mitchell Duke.” McKnight said these signs are important, “If a mom or dad know it is in the room, it is your duty to see that they get returned.”
According to the chancery court clerk’s office, road signs cost some $20; stop signs costs $30 while the posts they are put on costs $15. For all signs across the county the county spent some $14,000 last year.
If you see anyone stealing signs from any of these roads that are listed, get a tag number if at all possible and please call the supervisor or call the sheriff’s department and report them.
All the supervisors said if you have a sign in your possession you can drop it by the supervisors shed or even by the jail. If they are brought back to these places willingly no questions will be asked, but all of them also said that if you are caught with the signs in your vehicle otherwise, you will be prosecuted.
It is a crime to steal road signs and the penalty can vary according to how many signs are in your possession.
“We are working with the judges,” McGregor noted. “And when they get caught, and they will; we will put as stiff a fine on them as the law allows.”