When residents of a city in north eastern Utah noticed two stop signs had gone missing at a busy intersection, they decided to find out why. The answer they discovered was far from what anyone could have expected, and many are not happy. The intersection at 600 East and 300 North in Roosevelt was once a four-way stop. But two of the stop signs seemed to disappear overnight, raising safety concerns with residents. “We almost got into an accident,” said resident Rebecca Pittman. “That’s when we realised they were gone.” Pittman isn’t the only one alarmed by the move. Many residents are asking the city to make the intersection a four-way stop again, calling the current situation unsafe.
“I’m very concerned because I see kids walking to and from school,” said Brianna Broyles, who lives near the intersection. “Parents with little kids walk along here. I hear tyres screeching and horns honking.”
In a letter to residents dated April 27, Roosevelt’s mayor and City Council detailed the events leading to crews taking down the two stop signs.
“There has been some speculation and innuendo floating around the social media lately concerning a ticket our city manager received for creeping through a stop sign and the subsequent removal of two signs at that intersection,” the letter begins.
The complicated situation began on Thursday, March 17, when city manager Ryan Snow was pulled over by a Utah Highway Patrol officer in the intersection. Dash cam video shows the officer initiating the traffic stop after Snow’s pickup truck slows down but rolls through the stop sign.
“After the ticket was received,” the city letter continues, “the city manager talked to our Public Works director and pointed out that we had three intersections in a row with 4-way stops and wondered if that was in the best interest of the city.”
The following Monday, city workers cut down the stop signs for north and southbound traffic.
The letter goes on to note that while Snow talked to Public Works, “No one ever ordered or directed the Public Works director to remove the signs, but only to investigate it.”
Pittman said that after she and fellow neighbours called city offices with questions and safety concerns that crews returned and installed yellow crosswalk signs at the intersection.
Court documents revealed that the same week the signs were removed, the city attorney requested Snow’s traffic citation be dismissed. The one-line motion simply states the reason being “in the interest of justice.”
YouTube link. Full raw Facebook footage of the incident.
On April 6, according to court documents from the Eighth Judicial Court in Duchesne County, the court dismissed the case pursuant to the city’s motion. Snow said that he only mentioned receiving a traffic citation to the city attorney’s office but did not ask for any special consideration.
Snow later apologised for contesting the ticket.
“Now that I have seen the video I was clearly wrong, and the officer had every right to ticket me. I am sorry for my error,” he said.
Residents aren’t completely satisfied with the city’s response, and are asking for more transparency.
“It’s cost the city more to take it down,” Pittman said. “It has cast a cloud over the city administration as to how things are done, and I want the stop sign put back up.”
Snow said he welcomes a public discussion about the stop signs.
“I simply want what is best for the city of Roosevelt and as long as the council sees fit I will continue to make every effort I can to faithfully serve the citizens of Roosevelt,” he wrote in his apology.
A City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, and many residents plan to show up to request the stop signs be reinstalled.