A sign that was erected more than five years ago urging drivers on a two-lane stretch of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway not to overtake has gone missing.
The sign, one of two placed on the Esterley in 2008, was facing drivers on the northbound side of the two-lane road. It was installed after a series of fatal accidents along the narrow road between 2006 and 2008.
Both signs read: “For Heaven’s sake, don’t overtake.”
Aileen Samuel, whose efforts as part of the Cayman Islands Road Safety Advisory Council in partnership with CML Offshore Recruitment led to the placement of the two signs, said she noticed one missing about a month ago.
“I, honest to God, don’t know where the sign has gone,” she said. “I don’t honestly know why someone would steal the sign, someone who’s in desperate need of plywood?”
The sign cost $220 to purchase, and Ms Samuel said CML maintained it every 14 to 15 months.
The other “don’t’ overtake” sign on the southbound side of the Esterley still stands, Ms Samuel said.
The two-lane stretch of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway between the Butterfield roundabout and Camana Bay has seen more than its share of fatal crashes over the past five years.
In October 2012, Beverley Ramsay, the mother of RCIPS Chief Inspector Angelique Howell, was killed in a head-on collision on the Esterley.
Another wreck on Nov. 30, 2011, resulted in the death of St. Matthew’s medical student Richard Martin. Police said the small Honda driven by Mr. Martin was struck by a Chevrolet Blazer, which was apparently driving the wrong way in the northbound lanes and veering off onto the shoulder when the accident occurred. The Chevy driver, Patrick Brooks-Dixon, was convicted and sentenced to prison in connection with the crash.
On Aug. 3, 2010, 24-year-old FederAnn Faustino of the Philippines died in a head-on crash. The 2010 crash also happened around the same time as Mr. Martin was killed – 12:30 a.m. A teenage driver, Brooke Nowak, was arrested in connection with the crash and was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to causing death by driving while under the influence of alcohol.
In October 2008, an attorney with Appleby died when his BMW collided with a flatbed truck near the Butterfield roundabout. Jonathan Tarboton, 38, died in the Oct. 14 crash in which witnesses said it appeared the BMW’s accelerator had been stuck to the car’s floorboard.
On Nov. 19, 2007, Australian national Shaney Tania Bar-On (known in Cayman as Shaney Kol) died in a head-on collision with a Red Sail Sports SUV driver who said in court that he had nodded off while driving and veered into the opposite lane. He was sentenced to six months in prison. Mrs. Bar-On’s 18-month-old child was in her SUV with her, but the little girl was not harmed in the wreck.
Officials with the National Roads Authority have repeatedly detailed plans to widen that particular section of highway into a four-lane, divided road. However, the last estimate from the roads authority is that such work would cost approximately $4 million.