Deadly car crash ignites concern over safety of Palm Drive in DHS

Deadly car crash ignites concern over safety of Palm Drive in DHS

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - "This is a very unsafe street," said Desert Hot Springs resident Paul McCarthy, who lives in the Vista Montana community off Palm Drive.

McCarthy and his neighbors say cars driving along that road go too fast.

"It's a 45 mile per hour speed limit once that light turns green and no one goes 45, they're going 60 and when they see that 60 they're going upwards of 70 and 80 miles per hour," McCarthy said.

And they say there's nothing to stop these drivers.

"We don't have enough law enforcement to be able to put people out on the streets without radar guns," said neighbor Richard Stone.

We spoke with Desert Hot Springs Police Sergeant Jim Henson, who said officers do patrol Palm Drive, but the department has no longer has a dedicated traffic unit due to cuts.

"I know the police is strapped because of finances but something has to be done about it because it's dangerous out here," McCarthy said.

With more police officers monitoring traffic, neighbors feel car accidents could be prevented.

Earlier this week a 65-year-old woman died and three people were injured at the intersection of Palm Drive and Camino Campanero. Two cars collided and one of them caught fire. The cause is still under investigation.
"I live a total of four blocks away, and it was roughly around five in the morning and it was horrific sounding," McCarthy recalls hearing the crash outside his home.

"People just drive too fast out here," Stone said.

Another solution the people of Vista Montana want the city to explore is lowering the speed limit on the south side of the city.

"This should have been done a long time ago," Stone said.

Changing the speed limit isn't that easy. Desert Hot Springs would need to ask Cal Trans to get involved and study the area.

And right now the city council is focused on the city's finances, trying to close a two million dollar budget deficit. But residents say the two go hand in hand.

"If the officers were allowed to come down here and conduct speed traps we might solve some of the financial crisis," McCarthy said.

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