Speeding plagues same road in DeLand fatal hit-and-run

Residents call for sidewalks to be installed on South Spring Garden Avenue

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

DeLAND, Fla. - Parents who live on South Spring Garden Avenue in DeLand were only slightly relieved Tuesday to learn Danielle Halverson was arrested for leaving the scene of a deadly accident on that street back in March.

Troopers said Halverson was behind the wheel of the Toyota Camry that hit and killed 14-year-old Julianna Hobbs and injured her best friend, 14-year-old Rachel Russell while they were walking on the side of the road.

Rachel and her mother live on South Spring Garden Avenue, just a few blocks from where she was struck. Seven months after the accident, drivers still speed and there is still no sidewalk in the area.

"The fact that you've got this school zone right here, you got little kids, you got everything from kindergarteners to eighth graders walking around here. And the kids that get off the bus from the high school," said Barbara Russell. "So it's really ridiculous that they don't finish the sidewalk."

Currently, the sidewalk ends at Jeanette Drive and starts again at Helen Drive.

Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron explained that because the neighborhood is older, it wasn't designed with sidewalks on all roadways. Byron also said that no one has filed a formal request for a sidewalk. "We don't have a record of it," said Byron.

Byron said now that Local 6 has made him aware of the requests from parents, he said he will ask Volusia County engineers to study the section of roadway and see if it fits the criteria for adding a sidewalk, based on pedestrian traffic, vehicular traffic, and vehicle speed, among other parameters. Byron said the biggest factor may be cost, since Volusia County, like most in Florida, is struggling with budget shortfalls.

Wednesday afternoon, Volusia County Sheriff's Deputies clocked drivers speeding upwards of 45 miles per hour in the 30-mile-per-hour zone.

Brandon Haught, spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, said his office is aware of the speed issue and promised that deputies will routinely enforce speed limits in the area.

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