Winter Park neighbors post signs to get drivers to slow down

Police pull over 338 drivers in 1 year

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Neighbors who live along a section of Orange Avenue, just inside the Winter Park city limits, are posting signs in their front yards urging drivers to slow down.

Garrick Spears said he wants to make the roadway safer for residents and prevent violent crashes that have claimed lives.

"Out of 51 houses, I have 15 houses that have contacted me and asked for signs, and some people are asking for multiple signs," he said. "They’re lining them up side by side in their front yard."

In October, a white BMW left Orange Avenue and bounced across two yards before crashing into Spears' fence.

He and his husband have documented other crashes over the past year, including one that claimed the lives of two women.

Geena Pabarue and Keisha Perales, both 23, were killed when a car traveling 128 mph T-boned them.

Spears said he's hoping the signs help.

"There’s an immediate impact," he said. "They’re seeing the signs and are slowing down."

Winter Park police spokeswoman Pam Marcum said officers pulled over 338 vehicles along this section of Orange Avenue, just off Highway 17-92, last year alone.

She said officers have not scheduled another similar crackdown on speeders for this year, but that officers would continue normal enforcement efforts.

Marcum didn't say why they decided not to conduct another crackdown.

The family of Pabarue reacted to the decision, saying, "On a street where over 300 drivers were pulled over in one year, how can you possibly cancel the monitoring? It baffles me the things in this country that are more important than someone's life. News may go on, but we as a family are mourning the loss of Geena and Keisha every day, and we will continue to mourn them forever. In the name of these beautiful young girls that lost their lives due to a reckless driver, the speed traps are necessary and they truly (matter). Every car that is pulled over for speeding can and will save lives. I’m disgusted at this decision and hope it is reconsidered before we (lose) more important lives to stupidity."

Spears said he feels his signs are helping to get results, but he admits it's not a long-term solution.

The Florida Department of Transportation has been working on its own ideas on how to slow down cars along this roadway.

Spears said he understands the final report is expected any day. 

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