Story by Melydia Clewell
Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)--Last Friday morning the Hawkins family home was nearly taken out, by a speeder.
When we went to investigate, we found a much larger problem at hand.
Eyewitness News first reported this story on Friday.
The Hawkins family lives on Johnny Street in East Chattanooga.
That morning, a young man crashed his grandparents' car into the front of their home.
The crash damaged the foundation, and the fire department determined the home was no longer safe to live in.
We wanted to know what the Hawkins planned to do.
And when we returned to the scene we found this story is not just about a house.
It's about honest, hard-working folks who've been trying to get help for years.
When we talked to the Hawkins they asked us to check the records, find out for ourselves how dangerous the road in front of their house really is.
So, we did.
What they told us is true and it's no surprise to neighbors when cars go sailing off the street into their front yards.
As it turns out, it's no surprise to the city, either.
"I can't understand why people would drive that fast around that curve, you know, it just doesn't make sense," says home owner Janice Bone.
"Something must be done, its been too many wrecks, too many lives lost," says home owner Michael Hawkins.
Michael Hawkins says this could and should have been prevented.
"They ain't gonna do nothin' about it. That's the way I feel. I'm just in the wind," says Hawkins.
He says the city knows this stretch of Johnny Street is dangerous.
In recent years they've installed guard rails and dropped the speed limit.
"They have put up signs, speed limits, but that is just about all," says Bone.
The signs go ignored. Cars keep careening into yards.
"It looks like the traffic director or whoever's in charge of things like that, looks like they would act," says Bone.
The city traffic engineer did recommend non-skid paving three years ago. It hasn't happened.
"Something needs to be done, but I don't know who to go to," says Hawkins.
"Hopefully they'll put them ripples to slow you down, really slow you down, gotta do something cause it's just, it's terrible," says Councilman Russell Gilbert.
We took Hawkins' concerns to his Councilman Russell Gilbert.
"I took their concerns and emailed to Public Works and they're working on it. Matter of fact, today they're looking at it. So I will get some kind of message hopefully soon," says Gilbert.
The Hawkins could move, but the history of the house holds special meaning.
It's where he was raised, by a couple who adopted him and four others, a handful of the nearly three dozen foster children who called this home.
Today, Hawkins is the dad, raising foster children under the same roof. But he worries he won't be able to keep doing it.
"Because their parents have trusted me to take care of their kids and I can't do it because of this situation," says Hawkins.
Insurance will cover the family's expenses, but as Hawkins asked us, what's the point of repairing the house only to have another car land in the living room.
Councilman Gilbert is confident the road can be made safer and he tells us he's committed to making sure that happens.
The Bradley County Sheriff's office is reporting a motorcycle accident on Lower River Road.
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
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