Speeding is an issue west Niagara residents have dealt with for years and in the case of one West Lincoln couple, it hits close to home.
A little too close for comfort.
In the late hours of Aug. 12, Frank Mercer got out of bed when he heard a loud noise in his backyard. Moments later, he saw someone shining a light into his bedroom window.
At first, Mercer later recalled, he feared it was a break-and-enter type situation. He made his way outside to investigate.
“I looked and I saw this big mess of the truck, there’s water everywhere and so then I knew what happened,” he said.
Mercer went back inside to wake his wife, Diana.
“Somebody just took the pool out,” he told her.
According to Mercer, a young man driving a truck came around the bend on Smithville Road, just south of Chippawa Road, too fast to make the turn. The truck came off the road, landing in a field next to Mercer’s home.
As the driver tried to regain control, the truck drove through the field, taking out a cherry picking machine in the process. The driver then careened into Mercer's backyard, destroying his fence and his above-ground swimming pool, before finally coming to a halt in a neighbour’s backyard, just short of their pool.
The driver was later changed by police. The total damage for Mercers’ property is roughly $20,000 and the couple believe stress from the incident hospitalized Mercer after he suffered a heart attack.
For the Mercers, however, this isn’t their first time dealing with an accident near their home.
Last year, they watched as a man drove his car into the field, damaging it. He got out of his car and picked up pieces that had fallen off. Six months prior to that, Mercer said he helped an injured motorcyclist who had crashed into the field.
In their six years living in the area, they said they've had to deal with accidents almost once a year. The previous homeowner warned him about the speeding, noting that a few years prior, one incident resulted in the death of a driver.
Beyond the curve on Smithville Road, just south of Mercer’s property, is a straight road that leads to and from Canborough. A straight where “people just fly,” as there are no intersections or stop signs on the over four-kilometre stretch of road.
“You just suddenly come up on a 60-kilometre curve and most people are doing over 100 in an 80 zone,” said Mercer.
Diana is still shaken by the Aug. 12 incident. Her grandchildren often use the pool that was demolished.
“Slow down,” she urged.
The couple are hoping the township is able to provide some signage in the area to increase awareness about the stretch of road. The road in question is however jurisdiction of the Niagara Region. Niagara This Week reached out to the region for comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.
Recently, signage encouraging drivers to slow down has popped up in West Lincoln and neighbouring municipalities.
According to Const. Jesse Vujasic of the Niagara Regional Police, speeding in Niagara has been an issue for years and rural areas like west Niagara have always been a “problem zone.”
Since 2018, of the 15 fatal accidents in west Niagara, Lincoln and West Lincoln combine for 13 of them. Four of those happened in West Lincoln this year alone.
Vujasic said police enforcement on the issue can be “difficult given the expansive area and the limited resources (manpower) available.” This means patrolling officers are also responsible for dealing with a growing number of service calls in the area and are not always able to deal with the issue that is the responsibility of the traffic enforcement unit.
Despite this, Vujasic said NRP will continue to do its best with enforcement efforts on the issue
Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News