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FDOT to add barriers after video shows SUV plunging into Lake Eustis

News 6 helps concerned restaurant owner get results

TAVARES, Fla. – The Fish Camp Lake Eustis restaurant owner Jim Jordan doesn't seat people at one corner of his patio afraid that a car could lose control and plow right into them. 

His restaurant sits on Lake Eustis in Tavares right off Highway 441 and is on the corner of a tight turn. It's right where surveillance video showed an SUV plowing into the lake Sunday night.

"You could see the car go right through the fence. It might as well have been paper," Jordan said. "It's only a handrail for pedestrians. It doesn't stop anything."

That is why he hopes to get results and get a guardrail to stop the cars. He said there was a near-miss just last month. 

"A car slid into the fence but it didn't go through," he added.

[WATCH below: SUV plows into Lake Eustis]

Jordan previously contacted the City of Tavares, but City Manager John Drury told him that's up to the Florida Department of Transportation.

"We advised him that the city was not the owner of the road and that FDOT was the owner and that FDOT is the one that needed to be contacted," Drury told News 6 Wednesday. 

However, Drury added that after he too saw the video of the SUV going into the lake, he wanted to get results. So he, the city's mayor and the vice mayor all called FDOT personally. 

"We've asked them to look at a placement of a guardrail," Drury said.

FDOT spokesperson Steve Olson told News 6 that the department did a study at the intersection of Lake Shore Boulevard and Highway 441 in 2016 but only looked at the intersection, not at the need for barriers.

Until they saw the video.

"This event was like, 'OK, we probably need to do more," Olson said.

Now what FDOT calls a "Push Button Project" is in place to prevent any cars plunging into the water again. That means FDOT will accelerate the process to put up some type of barrier there within months.

 

"Channel 6 is very good at getting results, I'm convinced," Jim Jordan said in response. "It worked very well and hopefully FDOT will get something done soon."


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