County-installed concrete posts knocked over weeks later outside Auburndale Learning Center

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (WFLA) – Just over a month after concrete barriers were installed in front of an Auburndale Daycare, nearly half of them were knocked over.

Jobe Ream is past the point of frustration.

“Parents are back to worrying again about what we should do here at this corner,” Ream, owner of Future Care Learning Center told 8 On Your Side.

Early Sunday morning, a car ran a nearby stop sign and collided with another car. One of the vehicles ran through the posts, knocked seven of them down, and then hit the building.

Ream, told 8 On Your Side she feels like she is at square one again.

“I didn’t think a small car could knock down seven of them, concrete and all. Yes, it stopped the car from damaging the building, but what if it was a truck? This doesn’t give us peace of mind,” she said.

Last month, the county installed 18 concrete-filled ballards to stop cars from hitting the building, which sits in the county right-of-way.

The ballards cushioned the impact, and the crash caused minimal damage to the building.

But, it took away the piece of mind these parents briefly felt.

“It’s good that they were here, but still, it’s just another wreck, another one so close to our building. And I just really, honest to god, I thought these would stop it,” Ream said.

As of Monday afternoon, county crews were working to repair the posts.

8 on Your Side went to Deputy County Manager Gary Hester to see if there’s another fix.

He pointed out that the ballards worked, but also said they would look into what to do next.

“The ballards did their job, but they’re not something that’s absolutely going to stop something from penetrating them. At this point, county crews will go back out, they will re-evaluate them. If there’s ways to install them that will make them more robust, they will certainly do that,” Hester said.

As of Monday evening, Ream had learned the county crews would be back out on Tuesday, and planned to fill the concrete in the whole way across the fallen poles, instead of around each one individually.

“I hope it works!” Ream said.

Previously

In September 2016, a concerned parent reached out to 8 on Your Side after a truck had crashed into the building.

She sent the photos of the crash to the county, but did not get any response. She and others worried it could happen again, and were pleading with the county to do something to make the building, located in the county right of way, safer. daycare2resized

Outside of Future Care Learning Center, there’s been plenty of close calls.

8 On Your Side went to the county, and so did parents.

In February, after a site visit and months of meetings, the county replaced a white picket fence with steel and concrete barriers.

“With you guys getting involved, the county and the city actually came out here and [were] like ‘okay, wait a minute, this is a problem,’” Ream said.

“Fortunately, when we got made aware of it, of course, media coverage always makes everybody aware, then we looked into it and came up with this solution,” Roads and Drainage Director Jay Jarvis said.

Statistics

8 On Your Side looked into crash statistics provided by the Auburndale Police Department. Since April 2015, there have been 15 crashes at the intersection.

Eleven of those crashes happened during school hours.

According to Deputy Chief Andy Ray, the police department conducted a seven-day traffic study of Charlotte Road in August. The study determined that 85% of drivers were driving around 38 mph, not too much higher than the posted speed limit of 35 mph.

He said during that time frame, 60,000 cars traveled on the road, or about 8,000 per day.

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