LORAIN — A Lorain police cruiser was T-boned by a car at Reid Avenue and West 23rd Street on Monday, and witnesses say a stop sign that’s partially obscured by an untended tree near the intersection is to blame.
Police and LifeCare paramedics were called to the intersection about 5:30 p.m. after receiving reports of a Lorain police cruiser being struck by another car. Neither the police officer nor the other driver appeared to be seriously injured.
Witnesses said the police cruiser was headed north on Reid Avenue when it was struck on the front driver’s side door by a two-door car that was headed west on West 23rd Street.
A police report on the accident was not yet available Monday night, and Lorain police dispatchers said officers were unavailable for comment. Thus, the names of the officer and the other driver were not available.
There are stop signs at the intersection only for east-west traffic on West 23rd Street, while the north-south traffic on Reid Avenue has no stop signs. For westbound traffic on West 23rd Street, the stop sign is partially cloaked by a tree limb thick with leaves.
Residents of West 23rd Street who rushed outside after Monday’s accident said the police cruiser did not have its lights and sirens on as it was headed north on Reid Avenue, and the officer was simply driving along when he was broadsided.
“It was definitely not the officer’s fault,” said Terry Welser, who was mowing his lawn Monday when the crash occurred just a few feet away from him. “But personally, I don’t think it was either (driver’s) fault.”
Welser pointed at the stop sign.
“I said just three days ago that they need to do something about that tree limb or there’d be an accident,” Welser said. “I would have pruned it myself, but it’s not my property. I didn’t know if it was the city’s property or not.”
The stop sign is on the tree lawn on the northeast corner of Reid Avenue and West 23rd Street. Lorain Safety Service Director Mike Kobylka said city workers can chop down any braches or trees that are obstructing such things as stop signs, but he hadn’t received any complaints about that particular sign.
Kobylka added: “We don’t routinely patrol the streets looking for stop signs that are covered up.”
Kobylka said he didn’t know if the city would be liable for any accidents caused at the intersection, and added that it would be up to Lorain Law Director Mark Provenza to decide. Provenza could not be reached for comment Monday night.
Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.