WEDOWEE - For the second meeting in a row, Randolph County Commission faced road problems caused by mud boggers.
Two residents who live on County Road 439 in the Bethel East community addressed the commission at the Thursday workshop. One resident who wanted to remain anonymous in the newspaper, for fear of revenge, told the commission the road is worked only once or twice a year, and there is no gravel on the road at all. She said she doesn't want the road closed, but she needs help from the commission and the sheriff's department.
She went on to say there are 14 children who live on the road and someone is going to get hurt. She said four-wheelers and trucks tear up and down the road, party on the creek and have even threatened her and her family. Another resident on the road, Gary Dalrymple, said he doesn't want the road closed but just wants the mud bogging stopped.
Tishula Kilgore, a resident of nearby County Road 447 echoed the earlier comments. "We moved here three years ago, and we have had nothing but trouble from these ATVs," she said. "Last weekend I counted at least 38 of them, and most of them were from over in Georgia. Laws are being broken and it is worse past my house where no one lives. Looks like you could close that portion of the road."
At Monday's meeting Mrs. Kilgore said sheriff's deputies came out over the weekend, and one said he didn't write any tickets and the other said he had only one ticket in his ticket book."The money you have spent on my road has just been wasted. They were out there tearing things up over the weekend," she said.
Commissioner Terry Lovvorn stated County Road 444 near Saxon Crossroads is now impassible. County Engineer Burrell Jones said he could close the road temporarily until repairs could be made. Lovvorn added County Road 439 was torn up again as Mrs. Kilgore had said.
A motion was made to approve additional funds to pay deputies overtime to patrol the area, take care of the problems and write tickets."I can't require or make my guys write tickets, I just can't do that," said Sheriff David Cofield.
Commissioner Derek Farr said he doesn't agree to paying any more overtime."We have already amended the sheriff's budget once for overtime ... We can't do that and fix roads too," said Farr.
Commissioner Lathonia Wright said he believes it is a mental problem. "Do you think I'm gonna take my truck down a road that's muddy and tear it up just for fun? I wouldn't do it. Violators need to be ticketed or arrested for criminal mischief."
Sheriff Cofield said it is hard to catch these folks because they hit the power lines or hunting roads where patrol cars can't go. It was finally approved that some $4,000 to $5,000 would be allocated for deputies' overtime.
Other roads in need of repair are County Roads 490, 521, 103, 451, 112, 459, 458, 453, 451, 101, 446, 447, 448, 439, 445, 440 and 444 in districts 1 and 3. Repairs on these roads will have to wait until gravel can be purchased. The commission will discuss the gravel purchase at their next meeting.