Car crash into house alerts neighborhood of continuing speed issues

Local News
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Slow down – that’s the message many in a South Knoxville community are hoping to get out to drivers.

Police are still searching for the driver in the Saturday morning car crash on the corner of Ellen Street and Avenue A in South Knoxville. 

     MORE | Local tow truck driver seeks to repair Knoxville home after a car slammed into it Saturday

A crash over the weekend WATE 6 On Your Side covered, where a car ended up smashing into the front of a home, sparking a petition. 

Neighbors have asked the city to install speed humps. 

There have been 48 speeding tickets on Avenue A  in two years. A Knoxville Police Department spokesperson telling WATE 6 On Your Side on Monday that this is an area KPD pays close attention to because many use it as a cross-through. 

While there have been just three crashes on this road for the past two years, the crash in which a car went through the front of a home has left many neighbors ready for change. A petition was started by a neighbor, in fact, to create that change. 

“I got over 120 signatures so far,” says Gina Ruth, who’s hoping to make the road outside her home a little safer, has petitioned the city to make drivers go a little slower. 

“I’m just thinking they’re going to put it off until someone loses their life, then they’ll do something. I’m going to try to prevent that from happening,” Ruth said. 

But, Eden Slater with Knoxville’s Office of Neighborhoods says their traffic calming program aims to fix this very problem and that a person concerned should fill out an application, then, the city will host a community meeting. Then, they’ll conduct a speed study and get a petition to gauge community interest.

“Once we have the petitions and the data that there is speeding, that’s when our traffic engineers begin looking at a traffic concept plan. That concept plan can include speed humps, road narrowing, medians, some are more complicated, some are more basic,” Slater said. 

City councilwoman Stephanie Welch saying safe streets area a joint effort between the city and those behind the wheel. 

“Speeding drivers are not only a responsibility of the city to make sure we’re enforcing and people pay the price when they’re breaking the law and we’re changing our roadways to make sure our roads are safe, but there is also a personal responsibility for people to drive safely in their own neighborhoods,” Welch said. 

Still, Ruth is hoping the paper leads to change. 

“Please do something. We’ve got to keep these speed bumps through here before an innocent person loses their life.” 

The victim whose home was crashed into Saturday morning, Ralph Lee, says he is trying to move forward. 

Although his home wasn’t insured, so rebuilding won’t be easy, Ralph says he’s thankful the two truck driver from Saturday’s crash is stepping up to help. 

A GoFundMe page has been created to help, as the repairs to the house are anticipated to cost thousands of dollars. 

“I was asleep when it happened, it didn’t even wake me up,” says Lee. 

Although he may be a heavy sleeper, Ralph says he couldn’t believe what he saw the next morning. The odds – as debris was stacked up against him, tow truck driver David Lee has been by his side since the crash Saturday morning. 

“This is not a usual thing for me it’s just the situation has really deemed it necessary,” David Lee said. “It really laid heavy on my heart that the gentleman needed help and after speaking with him that night, and as I continued to walk with him and the family, it’s abundant. It’s needed.”

David working to raise money and gather volunteers. 

While this may not be home sweet home to Ralph right now, he’s still thankful for the hospitality of others.

“I’ve still got a bed, I’m not hurting, no more than for my age,” Ralph said.  

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