Highway safety leader urges, ‘Slow down!’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Highway safety leader urges, ‘Slow down!’

Robyn Moormeister
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Pleasant Valley resident David Jones has gathered nearly 300 signatures on a petition to increase safety on Highway 395 through Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley. The grass-roots effort, called the Hwy. 395 South Safety Movement, has begun posting large signs along the highway to make motorists aware of the group's concerns.

David Jones is on a mission to make motorists to slow down, and he’s serious about it.

As the leader of the Highway 395 South Safety Committee, Jones said he hounded the Nevada Department of Transportation, his neighbors, police and the press to bring attention to his simple cause: Drive safely, and survive your drive on Highway 395.

“There are just too many accidents, and we’re tired of it,” Jones said standing next to the highway in front of a sign which reads, “The NHP is watching you,” posted by his group.

“They’re scraping people off the road out here.” he said. “It’s a generational thing. We’ve lived through this, and now our children will have to live through it.”

Jones can remember when his close friend and neighbor ended up in the hospital with a broken foot after an accident in February.

“It hurt him real bad,” Jones said, furrowing his eyebrows. “Two teenagers slid their car right underneath his truck.”

The teenagers were both instantly killed when their car sped into oncoming traffic. To this day, his friend says he still has nightmares about it.

This month, Jones began circulating a petition among Pleasant Valley, Washoe Valley and Steamboat Valley residents and business owners asking for a stoplight at Laramie Drive, speed-limit signs with flashing yellow lights, hanging yellow lights and jersey walls at spots along the highway between College Parkway and Mount Rose Highway.

So far, he has collected more than 300 signatures.

Jones, along with other residents and their children, have also posted 10 signs along the highway urging motorists to drive safely.

Engineers with NDOT said most of the requested highway changes are not practical. But Jones must have done something right: NDOT Director Jeff Fontaine agreed to conduct a 60-day safety audit of the highway and arranged a series of meetings with Jones and Pleasant Valley residents to discuss more feasible solutions.

An insurance broker and 29-year resident of Pleasant Valley, Jones said he originally moved to Washoe Valley from Burbank, Calif., to get away from crowding and bad drivers. But speeding still plagues him when he tries to turn onto his little street off of the highway.

“When I’m trying to make a left turn, my truck rocks when people speed by me at 70 mph.”

His tone is intense when speeding is the subject, but he speaks with tenderness of his wife of 15 years, Jeanne; two sons and his daughter.

His 32-year old son lives in Reno, and his other son, 36, lives in Southern California. His daughter, 37, is a classical musician living in England.

Jones lives in a sprawling ranch-style house on Andrew Lane, with a huge vegetable garden in the back yard and his faithful black Labrador retriever at his heels.

He says his daughter might have inherited her musical talent. When he was a teenager living in Burbank, Jones played drums in a garage band.

“I’ve always loved music,” he said.

After graduating from Burbank High School, Jones attended Glendale Junior College, and moved with his first wife to the Washoe Valley.

“I didn’t care for Southern California anymore,” Jones said. “I wanted to live somewhere more calm.”

Contact Robyn Moormeister at rmoormeister@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.