5 On Your Side

Raleigh family afraid after cars crash at home

Posted September 16, 2008

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— A family in North Raleigh said they fear for their safety after three cars crashed at their home in a little more than a year.

The Bernartes live on New Hope Road – where drivers often go too fast along a curve in the road and end up crashing at their house.

Carlo Bernarte said he and his wife have, for safety reasons, stopped sleeping in their master bedroom and have moved to their spare room.

“It always happens when we are sleeping,” Bernarte said.

In May 2007, three people died when their car slammed through the neighborhood’s stone entrance wall. Rocks from the wall shattered windows in the family room.

Two weeks later another car crashed at the home. This past July another wreck car occurred there.

“The debris from the fence came through the window…shattered glass all over again,” Bernarte said. He described third accident as “unreal.”

Bernarte is especially frustrated because a neighborhood representative contacted the N.C. Department of Transportation more than a year ago to request a guardrail. The DOT denied the request saying the agency "does not install guardrails to protect private property." A DOT review found most of the crashes involved speed or alcohol, not the curve.

The people that live behind it complained after seven cars crashed at that curve; Four of those cars went straight into their backyards. After 5 on Your Side got involved, the City of Raleigh agreed that a guardrail was necessary. A guardrail nearby Bernarte’s home was installed six years ago.

In the last 14 years, at least 14 cars have crashed around the intersection of New Hope Road and Fawn Glenn Drive. Nine of those cars went into yards. Five on Your Side contacted both the DOT and the City of Raleigh transportation leaders to review the situation.

“We can't engineer out the speeding and the alcohol. Even if we installed a guard rail there that does not mean someone travelling 120 mph is going to be stopped from hitting their home,” Raleigh Transportation Operations Manager Mike Kennon said.

Kennon said the city considered everything from safety to cost to aesthetics and like the state, determined a guardrail in front of Bernarte’s home was not the answer.

“The solution is to get people to obey the law,” Kennon said.


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  • PJM Sep 19, 2008

    Its a shame this family can't feel safe in their own home due to the fear of someones irresponibility on not to drink, drive and then speed down that street. DOT can do better by this family but also I agree with some of the other comments build a concrete fence they should not have to consider moving as that is their home but they should do what they need to do to feel safe.

  • Maple Walnut Ice Cream Sep 19, 2008

    An earthen berm may help. Then again they may go Duke boys over it into the house. Actually Rosco was always doing that.

  • canes7 Sep 18, 2008

    If the DOT says the problem is the speeders and drunk drivers, then what are they doing to stop the speeders and drunk drivers? That IS their responsibility.

    So the DOT is in law enforcement now? When will it be cool again to think logically, instead of looking for the most whacked out explanations for stuff in order to make one look smarter?

    This problem lies 100% with the drivers, wether they are druck/speeding or whatever.

  • amybell33 Sep 18, 2008

    There is a stone neighborhood sign that acts as a barrier however the problem is that the stones get hit so hard that they are flying into the home. I live in this neighborhood and the HOA would NEVER approve a different type of barrier.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Sep 18, 2008

    Personally, if I was the owner of that house, I would install concrete barriers (called bollards)as my "fence" and plant bushes in front or even inside the barriers to hide them. You do not have to put a solid fence, but enough to stop the cars entering the property. These are used in commercial buildings for premise security to stop vehicles from crashing into the buildings.

    On my property, there is a street that connects like a T to the cross street and it basically points to my house. I placed large bushes as the first barrier (which are now over 10 ft tall and blocks headlights at night), then pine trees, then concrete barriers decorated as large plant pots.

    I also do not count on DOT to do anything for residents. I ended up having to patch the asphalt street edges myself after repeated requests were declined. The public street where my house is located was paved in the early 1980s and not really maintained.

  • chance Sep 18, 2008

    The DOT denied the request saying the agency "does not install guardrails to protect private property ...

    Hmmmm ... Does the DOT install guardrails to protect private LIVES???

  • my voice Sep 18, 2008

    A member of my family lives in the country at a T road where there house sits directly across form the stop sign. There have NUMEROUS times that people did not stop at the stop sign and crashed into their house. There is absolutely nothing that can be done except hope that people will pay attention and STOP when they see the signs posted.
    People living in the "at risk" areas should take this into consideration before purchasing such properties.

  • vipcruizer2 Sep 18, 2008

    If the DOT won't do what is needed to help protect this home and the family that lives there, then maybe Mike Kennon should move into this house and try getting a good night's sleep in the master bedroom.

    The HOA should approve for this homeowner to construct a barrier in his yard along the road.

  • lizard Sep 18, 2008

    Guardrails may keep them in the road,,, then you'll have head-on collisions as they cross the center line. Guardrails also help cars become air-born during a crash.

    Someone suggested a line in the road protects private property. Well, just paint a line on the side of the road if you think that's all that is for.

    Trees, that's the answer. Just go green.

    And quit trying to get the taxpayers to spend money to increase your property values.

    You can't engineer for the one out of 100's of thousands of vehicles. Cost too much money. There would be guardrails everywhere.

  • Americanpatriot Sep 17, 2008

    why is the city worrying about aesthetics?
    this is a matter of safety, not what looks pretty?