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Letter: ​’Protect our lives’ on Mule Barn Road​

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Editor,

I am contacting you after the tragic wreck that occurred at approximately 8:53 a.m. on April 15 on Mule Barn Road, taking the life of Westfield resident, Patricia Douglas.

Referring to this incident an ‘accident’ is hardly appropriate given the speeds routinely achieved on this road.

We have resided on Mule Barn since 2005. During this time, we have watched traffic increase remarkably. Unfortunately, speeds and reckless driving have also increased dramatically. Several years ago, a group of neighbors and I met with the Hamilton Co. Highway Dept. in an effort to request some form of speed control. At that time, the posted limit on our section of Mule Barn was 45mph. The highway department subsequently conducted a traffic study, and ultimately determined the limit was too low. The speed limit was then increased to 55mph, and we were told that the east-west traffic volume did not warrant four-way stops. Had there been a four-way stop at the intersection of Mule Barn and 206th street, Patricia Douglas might still be alive.

In the interim years following that meeting, housing density and traffic volume have increased significantly. My family, and our neighbors are routinely passed by vehicles traveling at ridiculous rates of speed on what is a narrow road, with steep edges and crumbling pavement. Telephone and electric poles border the west side of the road, there is literally no room for error when being approached by an aggressive driver. Given the response to the Hamilton Co. Sheriff’s Dept.’s Facebook posts about this accident, it’s clear the vast majority of the speeding drivers do not live on Mule Barn and have very little respect for the limit of speed on this road, our property or the safety of our families and livestock. During warmer weather, motorcycles routinely race up and down the road given its flat and non-stop design, and I am certain that law enforcement would find those speeds to be nearly 100mph based on what we see.

You literally take your life in your hands every time you travel this road.

This type of driving would never be tolerated in a neighborhood, and I fail to see why it has yet to be controlled. Another innocent victim has lost her life, and she is not the first. The next wreck might involve my family; it might involve my neighbors; it might involve me. Now that Grand Park is a regional attraction, the next wreck may involve a van-load of young kids heading to a soccer game. What is it going to take for the county to at last and finally address this problem? The HC Sheriff’s office certainly does not have the manpower or resources to continually patrol the area, and my understanding is that the Sheridan Police Dept. does not have jurisdiction at our location (19919-20001).

My husband and I are vested Hamilton Co. residents. We live here; we work here. We built our businesses here. We respectfully request the City of Westfield and the county to do its part to protect our lives and our investments in this community.

Andréa Eppley
Co-Founder, Eppley Plastic Surgery, Pc, Carmel
Founder, Silver Drache Farm, LLC, Westfield
Founder, Black Boot Bison Company, LLC, Westfield


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