Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

More deer crossing signs put up in East Lake to warn drivers

EAST LAKE

Every October through January, lovesick deer interfere with traffic around East Lake High School.

Mating season, known to hunters as "the rut," makes normally cautious bucks ignore honking horns and headlights as they pursue does in heat onto student driver-dominated Silver Eagle Drive and nearby roads.

It often ends in tragedy: Animals are hit by cars and crippled or killed. Drivers are injured, cars totaled.

So last year, local Audubon Society members teamed with county officials to reduce wrecks with new, bright yellow, orange-flagged "Deer Crossing" signs and electronic message boards warning drivers to watch for deer. The animals are plentiful in East Lake, thanks to John Chesnut Park and the 8,000-acre Brooker Creek Preserve.

The slowly spreading project continued Monday as workers planted two more warning signs near the high school entrance and on East Lake Road.

Parents are relieved.

"You've got all these kids every day just rushing to get out of school," said Lorrie Yasso, 55, as she picked up her daughter, Kayla, from class on Monday. "And deer are popping up all the time, not just in the morning."

The signs promote safety, Yasso said. Kids blasting Justin Bieber may be more likely to notice deer leaping into turn lanes if they have seen the signs.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who listened to the public complaints at a town hall meeting last October, added two large electronic signs facing northbound and southbound traffic on East Lake Road for mating season. Since then, he said, weeks may pass without deer collisions.

"We're really just trying to generate awareness and heightened caution on the motorists' part," Gualtieri said. "We want people to be constantly scanning from side to side. Deer just dart out."

Even tall fences, he said, can't stop deer from bounding from one patch of woods to another. But drivers, who average 60 mph on East Lake Road, can slow down and look around.

"It makes a huge difference," he said. "They're better prepared."

Before the new warnings were installed, Audubon member and East Lake resident Ronda Musca saw at least 10 deer struck by cars. This year, she's seen one.

"When you sit behind the overhead sign by John Chesnut Park," she said, "you see drivers suddenly hit the brakes."

It's a relief, she said, because seeing deer with broken legs, looking into their frightened eyes, knowing sheriff's deputies must euthanize them, is heart-wrenching.

"The deer aren't going anywhere, so we've got to adapt and learn how to live with them," Musca said. "This is a step in the right direction."

Danielle Paquette can be reached at dpaquette@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4224.

More deer crossing signs put up in East Lake to warn drivers 11/06/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 7:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  2. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]
  3. Man convicted of second-degree murder in killing of Baby Doe, his girlfriend's daughter

    Nation

    BOSTON — A man was convicted Monday of murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shore of a Boston Harbor island.

    Michael McCarthy’s friend Michael Sprinsky, far left, gets a hug from sister Laura Sprinsky after McCarthy is found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Bella Bond, who became known as Baby Doe.
  4. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  5. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)