Local News

Truck crashes into house but neighbors not surprised

Posted June 4, 2008 9:52 a.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2008 7:06 p.m. EDT

— Residents of a North Raleigh neighborhood near Interstate 540 say they are not surprised that a delivery truck crashed into a one of their houses Wednesday morning.

The truck, from uniform service company UniFirst, crashed three-quarters of the way into the first floor of Joyce Yakamavich's house at 8509 Bannister Court, damaging the house's structure.

Two people were inside the house at the time but no one was hurt.

The driver, Henry Lopez, 19, was cited with speeding and careless and reckless driving.

Those who live in the Thorpshire neighborhood say it is an example of an ongoing problem with traffic from the interstate.

The exit ramp from I-540 crosses over Falls of Neuse Road and runs in the residential Thorpshire Drive. Bannister Court is a cul-de-sac off Thorpshire, about a quarter mile from Falls of Neuse.

Residents say motorists drive on the street, which has a posted speed limit of 25 mph, at speeds more than 45 mph.

"I want people to realize they cannot come through these neighborhoods driving at high speeds," Yakamavich, said. "It puts kids and walkers at too much risk."

"We are definitely concerned about the safety issue," her neighbor, Marjorie Carr, said. "We have several families with small children on this street, and it's just terrifying to see these cars go up and down the street at, you know, 40, 45 mph."

Residents say the Thorpshire Homeowners Association has unsuccessfully petitioned the city to install speed humps on the street.

David Thompson, residential transportation safety engineer with the city's Public Works Department, said the road was designed to collect traffic from other roads within the neighborhood and lead motorists to the major thoroughfares.

Based on a 2004 study, Thompson said, it does not meet engineering criteria to install speed humps, because it is wider than most residential roads and there is too much traffic.

The road is part of the city's traffic-calming program and is slated to be narrowed in an effort to reduce speed, Thompson said. However, it ranks 57th among the 160 streets that are part of the program.

Until then, the city uses other measures, such as speed enforcement and education in an effort to reduce speeding. of speed-reduction priorities.

Thompson said that residents could request the city return for another study to see if it could be moved up on the list but that there is also a possibility that the rank could be moved further down the list based on the results.

UniFirst describes itself as "one of North America's largest work wear and textile services companies." It is headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., a Boston suburb.

"We're sorry it happened. We're sorry for the inconvenience," UniFirst General Manager Davin Murray said. "We're glad no one was hurt."

Murray said the company will do whatever it can to help the family and had called contractors to the site Wednesday afternoon to assess the damage.