When Domenic D’Alessio and his wife Dorothy bought their home on Meadow Court in 1969, they used to play with their three children in the grassy field behind their property.
Today, instead of a field, there’s U.S. Highway 190, and D’Alessio said the area has become a hot spot for car accidents. He’s seen at least 12 in the last year alone.
The D’Alessios’ house sits about 15 feet from U.S. 190. There’s not much more than a chain link fence — which has already been damaged twice — and a couple of trees separating an errant vehicle from their home.
“We’re very vulnerable over here,” Domenic D’Alessio said Monday. “I myself am pushing 87. We’re usually calm, but lately this has been scaring us.”
About 50 yards away from Meadow Court is an off ramp for U.S. 190. Domenic D’Alessio said that while the speed limit posted is 40 mph, drivers rarely reduce their speed. That results in abrupt lane changes for those who want to take a right turn onto either Meadow Court or Ridgeview Drive.
Sometimes, he said, drivers trying to get onto Goodhue Drive, which is just before the off ramp, will cut backward on U.S. 190, briefly driving the wrong way on the highway.
“Somebody’s going to get killed out there. It’s bad,” Dorothy D’Alessio said. “We’ve had cars so close to my kitchen, I’m afraid it’s going to come through.”
Take a walk along the short stretch of sidewalk that separates the D’Alessios’ home and the highway, and you’ll see all sorts of evidence of the car accidents.
A broken Toyota emblem sat underneath a fire hydrant that’s been reinstalled twice in recent times, and a telephone pole has been removed because of damage from another car.
Domenic D’Alessio wrote four letters in two years to city officials. The first were to his district’s Councilman Jim Kilpatrick, former Mayor Scott Cosper and former Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin in 2015. The latest one was three pages long to Mayor Jose Segarra, and it detailed each recent accident that happened. It was sent Jan. 2. He hasn’t received an answer to any of his letters.
“A loud bang, but uncertain what happened,” he wrote to Segarra. “I believe that a motor vehicle struck the base of the electric utility pole on the corner of Meadow Drive and the frontage road, which is next to the posted stop sign. The force of the collision may have jarred the pole lamp and its metal cover at the top of the pole, to snap and causing it to dangle by a single wire over the intersection.”
The D’Alessios said the police who have arrived on scene have been empathetic and understanding about their situation, but little has changed. In his letter to Segarra, Domenic D’Alessio asked for a better effort by KPD to make its presence known on the frontage road, and periodic monitoring of the traffic flow during peak hours.
“They could camp out right here on the street, make themselves known,” he said as he motioned to his street. “When the cat’s away, the mouse will play.”