MOSBY, Mo. — Cops, deputies and troopers are all on the lookout for wrong-way drivers in Clay County, Missouri.
“Once they start driving the wrong way especially at night they don’t find any turn-arounds and they just keep driving, so it is a pretty predominant problem in this area specifically,” Excelsior Springs Lt. Ryan Dowdy said.
A majority of those incidents all seem to be happening in the same small town of Mosby, Missouri, population 190.
On Monday, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, MoDOT told them an engineering study revealed changes are needed on the stretch of 69 Highway, south of Excelsior Springs.
Some people point to a gas station in between the divided highway when numerous wrong-way driver reports first started popping up in the Excelsior Citizen Facebook group last month.
Joseph Ruckman narrowly avoided a wrong-way driver July 15.
“I was in the left hand lane and here comes somebody else straight at me,” Ruckman said.
Dowdy had a similar experience a couple years ago driving the same stretch of 69 Highway a couple years ago.
“As I came over here a blind hill I had to drive over into a ditch in my police car to avoid getting struck by a wrong-way driver,” he said.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said it’s received about a half dozen wrong-way driver reports in the same couple-mile area the past few months, as has the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Of course, not everyone calls 911 about every near-miss. But many share stories on social media, mentioning their encounters with wrong-way drivers happened around the same gas station.
Dennis Carter, whose family has operated Pour Boys since the 1960s, said he’d never heard much about wrong-way drivers until recently. He has a theory about what could be fueling the issue.
“Maybe distracted drivers, maybe they are just more distracted now a days than they used to be,” he said.
A traffic safety sergeant with Clay County Sheriff’s Office, who has stepped up patrols on U.S. 69 in Mosby, agrees.
“I think the number one thing people can do is not get so distracted by their GPS. I think when people are pulling in here to the gas station, they are so wrapped up in their phone they are being distracted,” Sgt. Devin Lambeth said.
At that gas station, 3 of the 4 exits have one way signs posted directly across the way. Do Not Enter/Wrong Way signs are also posted nearby for anyone who pulls into oncoming traffic. Ruckman, who captured his harrowing experience on his dash camera, said they should be enough.
“How can you miss the big Do Not Enter/Wrong Way signs and then go that way? I don’t understand,’ he said.
MoDOT engineers did a traffic safety study, and the sheriff’s office said the agency told them Monday it determined more signs and larger signs are needed.
MoDOT, which told FOX4 Friday it would look into whether it was aware of Clay County wrong-way driver concerns, did not respond to inquiries Monday about the signs and when they might be installed.
“If they can save one person out of the awareness of putting your phone down and paying attention or the increased signage then it was well worth it,” Lambeth said.
“If it makes people more safe absolutely, I wouldn’t have a problem with that,” Carter said.
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