Speed Busters: Drivers making illegal turns in front of Hernando elementary school

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Leslee first went to Orlando Avenue in Hernando County to catch speeders, but instead she discovered an epidemic of drivers making illegal turns in front of an elementary school.

Now’s she’s back to see what has been done. In June, Leslee witnessed 16 illegal turns onto Powell Road from Chocachatti Elementary School.

She contacted the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. Leslee let them know what she saw and they showed her they had written five citations there over six months. They said they were aware of the problem and would keep it on their radar.

Drivers are only supposed to turn right onto Powell Road across from Orlando Avenue. Just ask Paul Kinney, a concerned resident who originally reached out to Leslee.

“What concerns me is I’ve almost had about six head on collisions due to that problem,” he said.

Leslee returned in late August after school began to see if drivers were changing their bad habits. What she witnessed was several vehicles making the illegal turn while parents were waiting in line to pick up their kids from Chocachatti Elementary. And after school, more and more vehicles leaving the school were making the illegal turn.

Then Paul Kinney drove up beside Leslee’s Jeep.

“So what’s changed since the last time I spoke with you Paul?” Leslee asked.

Paul replied, “This past week they extended the yellow poles to force them to make the right turn coming out of the school. Apparently right now it works to a point, but around 2:30 to 4 o’clock when the deputies are not here, they still continue doing it.”

Leslee checked with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office again and they had written 26 citations in the week prior for various offenses including making the illegal turn.

“The deputies, I give them credit they try to do what they can do,” Paul said.

But when they leave, even bad weather conditions won’t stop these drivers from breaking the law.

Paul says parents and the staff at Chocachatti need to be educated on the turn, even though there is a clear sign in view.

“Teachers and staff that’s left over in the school or after school programs that constantly do this because they just don’t wanna go around. If the school would turn around and put notices out to the teachers and students there is no left turn out of this exit, a lot of these problems would be solved.”

So, Leslee took Paul’s concerns to Karen Jordan with the Hernando County School District. She told Leslee the principal at Chocachatti will be reminding staff and parents to turn right onto Powell Rd. Of course Leslee will be following up on that.

Follow Leslee Lacey on Facebook

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