WSAZ Investigates | Man begs for guardrail after several close crashes
CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Sidney Lucas has lived in his home in Logan County for more than a decade.
“I stay up at night because I’m afraid if something happens, I want to be able to evacuate my wife and do what I have to do,” he said.
He and his wife live along Trace Fork Road. He tells WSAZ, after moving to the area from Chicago, he enjoys the peace, quiet and tranquility the land provides. Wildlife often can be seen roaming the property.
The problem is, sometimes unwanted guests swing-by, usually at high rates of speed.
“In the last five to six years it’s gotten progressively worse and worse and worse,” he said.
In security video he shared from January 2021, you can see a driver operating a pickup truck, leave the roadway and collide into Lucas’ front porch.
The impact shifted his trailer and sent his wife flying from the couch.
“She doesn’t want me away from her; she wants me right there with her,” Lucas said.
What’s worse, this isn’t the first time it has happened and also not the last.
He tells reporter Kelsey Souto that cars have spun out in is yard, while other vehicles have flipped and needed to be towed and removed.
While standing alongside the road, cars whizzed past.
“You can see, speed limits have no bearing here,” he said.
Lucas contacted the West Virginia Division of Highways to see what could be done to protect his property.
But since then, the conversations have stopped, and no progress has been made.
That’s when he reached out to Kelsey Souto for help. She traveled to his home to see for herself. While there, Lucas contacted the traffic engineer he’d been working with. The call went unanswered and he left a message.
“Come and live a day in my shoes. Come here and sit and watch and tell me that I don’t need the guardrails,” he said.
Souto contacted the West Virginia Department of Transportation about the situation. In an email, a spokesperson confirmed that an engineer did come out to evaluate the area in January 2021. At the time, it was determined the property didn’t need a guardrail.
They told WSAZ, however, they would reconsider re-evaluating if something had happened since then.
Souto sent photos and videos via email, including images of a recent accident just two weeks ago. A driver lost control of their vehicle and crashed in Lucas’ yard, colliding with a wooden trash container, leaving the car totaled.
“Either I die of natural causes or die because of someone going through my home,” he said.
It’s a fear Lucas and his wife live with daily. Waiting on the next accident, that may cause even more damage or jeopardize their lives.
Souto contacted the District Engineer on Wednesday morning to get more information. She left a voicemail, and no one returned the call.
It has now been a week since Lucas requested another evaluation.
“Is it going to take a loss of life before they do anything?”
The email correspondence from WVDOT reads in-part:
Mr. Lucas is encouraged to let us know if there any unanswered questions by calling 1(833)WVROADS or by visiting the website https://dotforms.wv.gov/cra/ We want to make sure all questions are answered and citizens have a complete understanding of any road related issue or project.
WSAZ will continue checking with them regarding the re-evaluation.
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