CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Overgrown grass and trees are being blamed for a traffic accident that sent two people to the hospital Wednesday evening, and now Corpus Christi City manager Peter Zanoni is getting involved to make sure nothing of the sort happens again.
The crash happened around 5 p.m. at the intersection of Minton Street and Lexington in the Hillcrest/Washington-Coles area. Witnesses tell us the driver of a black Chevrolet subcompact car didn't see the stop sign because of tall grass and crashed into a red Toyota at the intersection.
Marlon Chapman’s mother and his daughter were in the red Toyota, and he arrived after the collision happened. He said the impact of the crash pushed the car into someone’s yard, and that his mother was complaining of chest pain. His daughter said her arm and head hurt. They were taken to the hospital and are expected to be fine.
Chapman said he just wanted to see the people charged with caring for the property do their jobs.
"At least trim the trees where you can see the stop sign," Chapman said.
The area is right in the middle of Harbor Bridge Project construction, and the Port of Corpus Christi owns a lot of the land in the neighborhood. Since the overgrowth involved public safety, KRIS Communications reached out to CCPD to see who is charged with making sure the sign is visible. They referred us to the City of Corpus Christi.
When we reached out to a city engineering spokesperson, we were told it was not the city's responsibility and that they had no comment. Zanoni heard about that response and called our offices to express his disappointment in his staff's response, calling it unacceptable. Before 5 p.m., Zanoni had coordinated city Code Enforcement crews, who along with county crews, to clean the area.
According to Chapman, neglected properties as a result of recent Harbor Bridge buyouts are a big problem around there. And a forced detour from the I-37 access road into the neighborhood, also brings people into the area who are unfamiliar with its landscape.
“Anybody that's not used to this part of town coming down this street, they're not going to know there's a stop sign there because they don't know nothing about it,” Chapman said. “Going this way, no stop sign. Going this way, you got a stop sign and it's not visible."
He doesn’t place the blame on the other driver.
“Over here in this neighborhood … they don't take care of what they should take care of,” Chapman said. “The car that hit my mother was traveling this way and you can't see no stop sign for nothing until you get past the tree and you're already on the corner. So, she didn't have no time to stop.”
Chapman blames the Port of Corpus Christi, who has been snapping up property in the area to build the new bridge. CCPD, which handles code enforcement, however said that city traffic engineering is responsible for making sure the sign always is visible. The property is on is now county property, forfeited because of failure to pay back taxes.
His mother refused to leave the area when relocation offers were made. Chapman said she wouldn’t -- she loves the north side, and that the solution to avoiding accidents such as this one is a simple one.
“They just need to stop neglecting this neighborhood because there are still people who live here,” he said. “We would like to see them do a little bit better than what they’re doing.”