Man's yard attracts car wrecks

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

Ricky G. Hardin is so fearful of the traffic traveling on Willow Springs Road that he is afraid to let his children play in the front yard. His fears are understandable since seven car accidents have occurred in his front yard over the past four years.
   On Jan. 1, Hardin came home at approximately 9 p.m. to discover car tracks through his yard which looks like "a bulldozer went through it."
   The car hit his house, damaged his vinyl siding, knocked down two trees and destroyed a column on his front porch. Since a note was not left by the police or by the driver of the car, Hardin assumed it was a hit and run. He called 911 to report the damage and found out that the accident was reported to Carter County Sheriff's Department at 2:41 p.m., just after he had left his house earlier in the day.
   Hardin thinks most of the accidents are the result of motorists traveling at high speeds on the 25 mph road. The recent accident report states the driver was traveling less than 25 mph.
   "The road comes down into a dip. It makes an incline and if you don't watch what you're doing, it just slings you right in my yard," he said trying to describe the treacherous curve.
   The most recent accident involved the vehicle striking a deer before losing control of the car and running into the yard, according to the accident report filed by CCSD Sgt. Tim Lowe.
   Hardin has contacted the Carter County Highway Department several times and has spoken with Carter County commissioners requesting a guard rail be placed along the road. His father, Bobby Hardin went before the county Highway Committee and asked them to help because he feared his grandchildren would get hurt if nothing was done.
   However, Jack Perkins, highway superintendent, told him there was not enough money in the highway department's budget for the county to buy the guard rail and that if one was placed, it would only be torn down by a later car accident, according to Hardin.
   Perkins was contacted by The Star for the cost of the guard rail. He did not know the cost and said he would have to call another office for the price per foot. He later said that he would have to measure how many feet the guard rail would extend.
   Perkins offered a little good news to Hardin by saying that a guard rail will "probably" be put up along this stretch of Willow Springs Road.
   However, Hardin stated he will believe Perkins when the guard rail is erected. "He has told us this three times before," said Hardin.
   He added, "It's going to take someone getting killed to get it done. An accident will probably kill me while I am in bed. I told my kids the other day 'No more playing in the front yard.'"
   Hardin planted seven trees to deter any car that happens into his yard, but those have all been ran over and destroyed. The front porch did have three columns, but after New Year's Day, it only has two white columns bearing the burden of his roof.
   An insurance adjuster is coming to assess the damage which Hardin believes will exceed $2,000. The last car that ran into his one story home surpassed $1,500.
   "Her insurance will cover it. I am getting tired of fixing it myself," Hardin said.