Corbin Erway spoke at Oange County Commissioners Court on Monday, June 24, to address safety and speeding where he lives on Four Oaks Ranch Road in the Lakeview area of Vidor.
“Thank you for letting me address the court concerning a very serious problem that exists on Four Oaks Ranch Road concerning the speed of commercial vehicles, and for that matter, all traffic,” Erway began. “We have posted speed limit signs on the road which very few people adhere to, but my biggest concern is commercial vehicles, mainly the vacuum trucks going in and out of the properties where the (oil) well sites are at.”
Erway explained to the court that the speed limit on the road is 30 mph and 15 mph for trucks. He believes the trucks are exceeding the speed limit, going as fast as 60 mph in one instance he opined.
He said he has already contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and years ago contacted the local constable regarding the same problem. He said nothing was done.
“In my small community of four or five houses there, there are approximately 12 children there. Two of them are 8 years old and the rest are younger. Especially the younger kids, all they’re concerned about is getting a little kitten out of the road or a ball or whatever it is. A 40,000-pound truck is not going to stop for a number of feet. I would like to ask the court to give me some help on some traffic control out there.”
He presented the court with a petition including the signatures of 55 people who live nearby stating: “This is a petition for the Orange County Commissioners Court to enforce the posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour for the truck traffic on Four Oaks Ranch Rd. We want our children to grow up!”
“Everyone I spoke to was more than happy to sign the petition,” Erway asserted. He said he drafted the petition Saturday, June 22, and had all but six of the 55 signatures that same day. “It’s kind of like the wild west out there,” Erway said regarding enforcement of the speed limit.
“On behalf of the court, we can’t discuss it because it is not on the agenda, but on behalf of the court I will accept your petition,” Judge Carl Thibodeaux said to Erway. Thibodeaux said he and the commissioners would look into the problem and discuss possible solutions with the sheriff and DPS. He said, “We will do whatever we can legally do to help you with your problem. Until the human race decides to slow down and abide by laws, we won’t be able to accomplish what we really want to do, but we can at least address the issue for you.”
Sheriff Keith Merritt spoke to Erway after the meeting to let him know he would also be looking into the problem.
In an interview, Erway said he has contacted the companies himself in the past to no avail, but he has seen a change since he addressed commissioners at the meeting. He said he believes the sheriff or someone from the county followed up on his request due to the slowed traffic he has observed since his address, and he observed an OCSO vehicle patrolling the very next day. An employee of one of the vacuum trucks confirmed that his supervisor indicated if any new complaints are received, the reported driver could be terminated.
“I really appreciate that they did that,” Erway said of the county’s response, adding that he hopes the change lasts. Given the fact that the drivers are now under heavy scrutiny, he just might get his wish.