East Side residents say speeding has been a problem for years on Provost Street, a short residential road where a young mother was killed early Saturday in a horrific rollover accident.
A day after the death of 21-year-old Danitra Chin, residents of Provost Street and adjoining Hobson Street said speeding motorists have driven through their fences, crashed into a home and even killed a therapy dog.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Ellie Gomes, 33, of Hobson Street, whose fence was mangled by a driver two years ago, just days after she moved into her home. “They just speed up and they don’t care.”
A week after that first accident, another car plowed into the guardrail and fled, she said.
Saturday’s crash occurred in the area of 25 Provost St., police said. Arcelino Silva, 21, of 19 Westhaven Drive, is charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
Police say he was headed east on the road when his tires hit a curb, causing his sport utility vehicle to go airborne and hit three parked cars. A passenger, 21-year-old Shaquielle Berry, said the car flipped and came to rest in a residential driveway. She was treated and released. A male passenger was also injured, but his identity was not released and information on his condition was unavailable Sunday.
Neighbors said they feared it was only a matter of time before someone would die in a crash on their street.
Drivers “go 60 to 70 mph here,” said Antonio Pires, 46, a father of three who lives on Provost Street, across from the crash site. “They pick up the speed all the time. I’ve seen many accidents here.”
Last year, residents urged city officials to install speed bumps on Provost Street. They also asked the city to make the roadway a one-way street.
But both requests were denied, they said.
Ward 5 Councilor Dennis DeNapoli, whose ward includes Provost Street, said speed bumps are allowed only on private ways – not on public streets.
Turning the road into a one-way street would require the fire chief’s approval, he said.
DeNapoli said he will make the following recommendations at Thursday’s meeting of the city Traffic Commission:
To conduct a study on making Provost Street one-way;
To post new signs on Provost Street mandating lower speed limits;
To have police conduct traffic enforcement on the street.
Edith Edwards, who lives on Provost Street, said a speeding driver struck and killed her disabled son’s therapy dog, Charlie, last year.
Cars race down the street regularly, she said. That led her to build a wooden fence in the front yard two years ago to keep her two children away from the street.
“It has been terrible,” Edwards said from her front porch Sunday. “The cars will just go. Their speed is too high.”
Larry Dias, who lives at the intersection of Hobson and Provost streets, said he hopes something is done to fix the problem.
Eight years ago, he said, a drunken driver crashed into his house and caused $60,000 in damage.
Speeding cars, he said, “always end up in my front yard,” Dias, 48, said.
In 2009, a street light and an additional stop sign were added to the intersection of Provost and Hobson streets. Small white boulders line both sides of Hobson Street to prevent drivers from going onto people’s lawns. “Every day, I have to straighten them out,” Dias said.
Residents say more safety measures are needed.
“Unfortunately, (city officials) will do something after someone gets killed, and that just happened,” Gomes said.