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Truckers dispute ‘damage’ claims

GATESVILLE – Kenneth Payne says he and his fellow truck drivers that reside in the Whitehurst Farms residential subdivision are not bad guys as portrayed by one of their neighbors.

Speaking on behalf of the truckers who live in the subdivision, Payne addressed the Gates County Board of Commissioners at their May 15 meeting. Payne said he and his fellow drivers were upset over comments made by David Broder, who spoke to the Commissioners at their May 3 meeting where he claimed operators of 18-wheelers use the subdivision as a shortcut between Willeyton Road and Medical Center Road, as well as causing damage to street signs and mailboxes in the process.

‘We became aware of a gentleman who spoke to you (at the May 3 Commissioners meeting) about us (truckers) parking there. There are four of us who park there,” Payne said.

“Upon reading the article (“Truck traffic uses residential area as shortcut” – Gates County Index; Wednesday, May 10), we were pretty disturbed about the untruths that were told,” Payne added. “He (Broder) stated that we parked in the middle of the street and blocked traffic.”

As evidence to the contrary, Payne presented the Commissioners with nine photos. In photo one, he noted this was an 18-wheeler parked on a private section of one of the streets within the subdivision. The Gates County Index obtained copies of those photos and #1 shows an 18-wheeler parked on a paved road, its left wheels on the shoulder and its right side consuming roughly one-fourth of the pavement in one lane.

Photo two shows a truck in operation as it makes a right-hand turn onto one of the streets in the subdivision off Whitehurst Lane.

Photos three and four are shots of an 18-wheeler turning at an intersection in the subdivision. In both photos, the truck remains in contact with the pavement.

Photo five is a straight-on view of an 18-wheeler traveling on Whitehurst Lane after turning off of Willeyton Road. Payne said this photo was important as it contradicts the information supplied earlier to the Commissioners that trucks turning off of Willeyton Road onto Whitehurst Lane often cause damage to street signs and mailboxes.

“As you can see in photo number six, there are no mailboxes at the intersection of Willeyton and Whitehurst,” Payne stressed. “The (street) signs are there, but they are set back well off the road.

“If we had caused damage to any road sign, there would be a significant rut or deep tire tracks there as evidence; photo number eight does not show any of that,” Payne continued.

In addressing the claim that truckers have destroyed mail boxes with their big rigs on four occasions, Payne referenced a letter, signed by an individual saying they were a Whitehurst Farms resident. The letter writer stated they had lived in the subdivision for almost four years and, “I have never had a problem with any of the truckers or (had) property damage from them.”

That individual also said they had “dealt with property damage done by teenagers, which was handled.”

They added, “I do not see truckers using the neighborhood as a cut through, which honestly makes no sense….truckers tend to want less turns, not more.”

Payne said photo nine shows a section of Whitehurst Lane near where the gentleman that complained lives.

“He lives on a straight section of Whitehurst Lane, not on a corner lot or near a turn; the only way for any of us (truckers) to damage any of his property would be for us to fall asleep at the wheel and travel across his yard,” Payne remarked. 

In another statement presented to the Commissioners, one written by a resident of the subdivision, Payne said that person is a neighbor of Broder and that damage to Broder’s mailbox and to a street sign was inflicted by an intoxicated motorist leaving a party in that neighborhood.

“We were upset by the lies that were told on us, but more upset that it was told that we were endangering the lives of our neighbors,” Payne said. “It was claimed that we don’t live there (within the subdivision). We do live there. We park our trucks there because that’s our home; that’s where our families are.

“We want to set the record straight and provide ya’ll with proof (not causing damage or endangering the neighborhood),” Payne added.

To clarify the route he and his other neighborhood truckers take to get to their residences, Payne said they turn off of US 13 onto Paige Riddick Road, turn onto Willeyton Road and travel a short distance to the intersection of Whitehurst Lane.

“We’re not cutting through the neighborhood, as the gentleman claimed at your meeting earlier this month, we’re just trying to get home,” Payne said.

Payne mentioned that one of his fellow truck drivers who resides in the subdivision is currently investing thousands of dollars to construct a fairly large pad on his property in order to park his rig and not on the street.

Commissioner Ray Freeman said he and some of his board colleagues visited the Whitehurst Farms subdivision and were baffled at the claim that a truck driver would take that many turns in an effort to travel a “short-cut.”

“It doesn’t make sense why a truck driver would want to weave through that neighborhood,” stated Commission Chairwoman Linda Hofler.

“If the gentleman that addressed ya’ll earlier had just said that he has a problem with truck drivers or just doesn’t like us, that’s fine; but don’t come up here and tell lies,” Payne concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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