Crossing the T takes on new and dangerous meaning

Sep. 06, 2013 @ 09:49 PM

At the intersection of Lynnbank and County Home roads, crossing the T is frequent and dangerous for both cars and a home.

The house at the T-intersection has endured a repeat crash scene four times in the past 30 years, and continuing mishaps keep the family occupying the home feeling unsafe.

Ernest Robinson said the first time his porch-room addition was hit in October 1985, his daughter Kristina’s bed with her in it was knocked several feet from the wall. Thankfully dozens of cushiony stuffed animals surrounded her.

He has sought help from the N.C. Department of Transportation, and after a fourth crash a year ago, he plans to ask the Vance County Board of Commissioners about placing rumble strips on County Home Road near the end where it meets Lynnbank Road, a warning tactic often used to slow down drivers.

“The Lord protected her, and she wasn’t hurt,” Robinson said of his daughter. “We had that room made up into a bedroom for her, but after that, we decided that no one would be sleeping in that room anymore.”

The latest crash of a Toyota pickup one year ago resulted in the room’s destruction because of the repeated damage to the foundation. This time, it finally had to be replaced completely.

“After the first time, they came and did a sloppy job of putting the room back,” Robinson said. “I thought about putting up a barricade, and I was told that if I did that, I would be seen as intentionally putting an obstacle for them to hit.”

He was advised that would create liability.

A second hit to the house came in January 1988. By then, other mishaps with cars catching a part of their property, spinning a donut-shaped turn maneuver, pushed family activities away.

“Kids are not to play in the front area,” Robinson said. “We just sent them to the back yard.”

In May 2000, a vehicle struck about 10 feet to the side of the add-on room, hitting beneath the living room window. Robinson was in his yard at the time, and he looked up when he heard the first squealing of tires out beyond where they parked their car after church.

“I was thinking, hit the car! Hit the car! They missed the car by that much,” he said, indicating an inch or two between his finger and thumb, “and hit the house.”

That occasion included a bit of altercation between Robinson and the driver of the car who seemed to want to make a getaway. Robinson, still in his Sunday best, said he thought he might end up in a scuffle.

Robinson said his wife was more concerned about him.

The latest installment in their ongoing tale came in September a year ago when a Toyota pickup streaked across the same tract of lawn and slammed the room addition. This time, the whole thing had to come down for replacement because the foundations had to be replaced after the repeated pounding.

“I was reading my Bible, sitting on the living room couch. I was having my morning devotions,” he said. At 5:50, “It just happened.”

The old deep-box TV on the wall shared by the room addition got knocked forward for a screen-down crash landing on the floor, and everything in the room that was hit got scrambled.

“That’s how hard it hit,” Robinson said. “It is terribly inconvenient, I can tell you that. I think some rumble strips coming up County Home Road would get their attention, to remind them that something is there.”

Robinson said that for every serious incident in which a crash resulted and he had to collect contact information from the driver, he found out that they were driving through there all the time.

“Of the four times my house has been hit, three of the drivers lived within a half a mile of there,” he said. “The other time, the driver working a shift went back and forth to work through there every day.”


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