SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — The holidays are behind us and drivers are back out on the road in full force along with Speed Busters.
WFLA Traffic Reporter Leslee Lacey kicks off her Speed Busting New Year in Sarasota where drivers have been putting a disabled woman in jeopardy.
Deyon Bell lives near Beneva Road and Circus Boulelvard, which is an intersection she uses regularly to get to the grocery store and the bank. Deyon is also visually impaired. She says she was born with glaucoma and cataracts and is completely blind in one eye. That makes crossing the street a nerve-racking experience, especially when drivers are turning a blind eye to her safety.
The intersection is equipped in a braille style with bumps. It allows Deyon to feel with her cane where the crosswalk begins. The crosswalk also has a loud speaker that signals when it is safe to cross and counts down the time a pedestrian has to cross safely.
Deyon said she crosses the street often and fears for her safety.
“Cars aren’t paying attention to those who are about to cross the street. And I as a visually impaired person I cannot tell whether or not they are looking at their phones or they actually see me,” she said.
“Cars will go over the white lines, which puts myself further out into traffic because I have to go around the car. It’s nerve-racking. It’s scary at times. I’ve almost gotten hit several times.”
Deyon also told Leslee there is speeding on Beneva Road and sometimes cars run the red light when she is trying to cross. Leslee pulled out her Speed Buster gun and clocked several vehicles speeding. She quickly caught one going 52 mph in a 40 mph zone.
Deyon isn’t the only one who has physical challenges. She told Leslee her nearby apartment complex is filled with disabled and elderly people.
“Life is hard enough having a disability and not being able to see well. And I consider myself very independent. But, it kind of takes my independence away because I don’t wanna go out because I know there’s a lot of traffic and some don’t pay attention to the lights or the people that are about to cross the street,” said Deyon.
Deyon told Leslee she wanted to see signs installed alerting drivers that disabled people were in the vicinity.
Leslee took her request to Jason Bartolone with Sarasota County who says they will look into adding signage. Also Sarasota Police Department spokesperson Genevieve Judge says they are in the middle of a pedestrian safety campaign and promises the SPD Traffic Unit will take a look at this intersection for Deyon. Of course Leslee will be following up with both these agencies.
If you have an issue with speeding and are willing to speak on camera about it, direct message Leslee on her @LesleeWFLA Facebook page.
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