Dangerous road curve makes residents wary Property sustains 3 crashes in 5 years

June 07, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Seven years ago, Tim Robertson envisioned raising his family in one of the two houses he bought at the corner of Outing Avenue and 204th Street in Pasadena.

"It was my first house," recalled Robertson, who had rented a townhouse in Odenton before he moved to the Green Haven community. "I just wanted to become a homeowner."

But now the home improvement contractor regrets buying the green rancher at 7804 Outing Ave. and the white house at 699 204th St. His feelings have soured because his property has been the target of three car accidents -- the most recent of which almost injured a 5-year-old boy last month.

Robertson said the problem is that many motorists exceed the 25 mph speed limit as they enter the sharp curve in the 7900 block of Outing Ave.

"They never make it," he said.

The first crash five years ago ripped out 100 feet of chain-link fence surrounding the two homes.

No one was injured and the house was undamaged, but Robertson said he feared for the safety of his 6-month-old son, who was sleeping in a front bedroom of the Outing Avenue house.

"Every time I put him to bed, I wondered if that was the last time I was going to see him," said Robertson, 36.

He complained to county Department of Public Works officials, who installed a metal guardrail between the road and the houses. Meanwhile, Robertson bought another house in Outing Park, moved his family into it and rented his former home.

A year later, a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 traveling in excess of 120 mph left the ground, sheared a telephone pole and cartwheeled into the front door of the 204th Street house, Robertson said.

The driver of the car was killed and his passenger lost her legs. Damage to the house was about $1,000, Robertson said.

The most recent incident occurred May 19 at the house on 204th Street. A 35-year-old man driving a Mercury Cougar at more than 100 mph lost control of his car about 1 a.m. and struck a neighbor's car.

The Cougar spun 180 degrees, flattened the guardrail and struck the wall of a bedroom where a 5-year-old boy was sleeping, Robertson said.

The child, whose 9-year-old brother also sleeps in the room, was uninjured, but Robertson said the boys are haunted by the incident.

"The children wouldn't even go into the bedroom for days," he said. "They still have nightmares about it."

The family living in the rancher declined to comment.

Robertson said the incidents have played havoc with the nerves of his tenants.

"What that does to you is every time you hear a car, you tense up," he said. "You cringe when you hear another car coming down the street."

Robertson said he would like to see increased police enforcement of the speed limit and installation of speed humps on Outing Avenue.

But James Schroll, chief of the traffic engineering division for Public Works, said speed humps and other traffic devices cannot be installed without a traffic analysis.

The county is studying the impact of speed humps on three county roads, a process expected to take another three months.

Sgt. Scott Pittaway, commander of the police traffic safety division, said an officer with a radar gun can be positioned at the intersection, but noted that his section is overwhelmed by requests.

"There's a long list, and with all of the resources we have, we can only do so much," Pittaway said. "But we will try to help."

But help may come too late. Robertson said he will try to sell the house as quickly as possible and wouldn't be surprised if his neighbors followed his lead.

"It's not a good neighborhood to raise a family in," he said. Melodie Brown said she regrets buying her house on Outing Avenue six months ago.

"If I would've known this road was this bad, I wouldn't have bought it," Brown said. "Somebody's going to have to be killed before they do anything."

Pub Date: 6/07/96

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