Careless Drivers on Mike Padgett Highway

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February 3, 2006
It's been a rough week for Augusta drivers. Luckily no one was killed on Mike Padgett Highway Friday night. Instead, the wreck is raising a lot of questions about its high speeds and overall safety.

It's the kind of off-roading you never want to see happen to you.

"You have to worry everyday when your family gets on this road, Whether or not they're gonna come home," said Jamie Howard.

Jamie Howard has seen lots of accidents on Mike Padgett Highway. This one near the intersection of Country Place Drive where a car got rear-ended, causing a four-car wreck.

"Well we were stopped waiting on a car to turn, my wife said 'oh god'. She's looking in the rearview mirror. I just braced myself and felt us spinning and I grabbed her, we bumped heads, went through a ditch and all this and landed in a yard," said Roger Alverson, passenger.

Roger Alverson is breathing a sigh of relief. He and his wife were unharmed. The three teenage girls in this car, however, were taken to the hospital. Officials say it all happened because of careless driving.

"Lots of industrial places, lot of people coming home from work, they're tired, they're coming home you know, not really paying attention to what's going on in front of them," said Patrick Stenger, deputy, Richmond Co. Sheriff's Office.

But those who live nearby say it's more than just that. Howard blames high speeds.

"People out here us this highway as a racetrack. And a lot of 'em go at least 70-to-75," said Howard.

"It's a 55 mile zone and you got vehicles turning into residences and turning into roadways,” said Stenger.

A dangerous combination residents here worry about. They want to see the road widened before another, worse accident, happens again.

"I am so surprised because just about every wreck that happens out here, there's somebody that loses their life," Howard said.

Parents say this stretch of highway is dangerously close to a school. They'd like to see one of three things happen here: Either make the road wider or add a suicide lane for drivers needing to make turns. They'd also like to see more patrols in this area.