Complaint renewed of trucks on Shady Brook Trail

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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Orris G. Lane and her neighbors successfully campaigned to have signs put up in 2021 saying that through trucks were prohibited on Shady Brook Trail in Courtland. But at the Southampton County Board of Supervisors’ June 25 meeting, Lane spoke during the Citizens Comment Period to inform the board that trucks were still coming through, and she asked what could be done.

“I hate to keep coming before the board about the situation of the trucks that keep coming down my highway,” she said, but she noted that she is home for the summer now and has witnessed numerous trucks. “So last Monday morning, I’m looking out my window and there’s every truck that you can imagine coming by my window.

“So I talked to Sheriff Wyche about this numerous times, and he has not properly sanctioned, whatever he does to the road, so what more can you do?” she said to supervisors. “Because I have neighbors who have complained that one truck … (was) leaking chemicals about a month or so ago. And this past week, there were open-container trash trucks that were spilling trash all over the road. So the next couple of days, you had VDOT coming and cutting up that debris.

“So again, what can you guys do to help me keep those trucks off my road?” she said.

When the “Virginia Department of Transportation Matters” agenda item came up during the Board of Supervisors meeting, Southwest District Supervisor Lynda T. Updike said, “Is there anything we can do about the trucks coming through Shady Brook?”

Southampton County Sheriff Josh A. Wyche Sr. said he would be glad to speak on that subject.

“As far as the trucks going through Shady Brook, we are constantly patrolling Shady Brook,” he said. “I can’t just sit a deputy on Shady Brook 24/7. If you want a deputy to sit up there 24/7, then we can hire one, we can put him out there, but it’s just like every other area in the county — when there’s a problem, we respond to it, and we do the best we can. And my deputies do keep up with that on Shady Brook, because I tell them, ‘When you go out there, make sure that you put it in the pass down (log) showing that we have gone to Shady Brook.’

“But again, we’re doing everything we can, but I don’t know what else to do,” he continued. “Maybe if the board knows something different, then y’all give it to me, and I’ll be glad to take care of it.”

Northeast District Supervisor Christopher D. Cornwell Sr. said, “And it’s already posted as ‘no through trucks,’ right? We passed that several years ago, just to remind everybody.”

Wyche said, “It’s posted with no through trucks. And I can say we’re going out there constantly. That’s one of the areas of concern, because Ms. Lane, she has called me several times, and even before she called me, we still had the guys going out there. But there again, we can’t be out there every time a truck goes up and down Shady Brook Trail.”

Wyche stated that quite frequently when he is going to Franklin, he goes through the Shady Brook Trail area to be on the lookout for trucks and usually does not see any but acts when he does.

“I haven’t seen any in my travels through there, not saying that there’s not trucks going through there, but the time that I’m going through there, there’s not a truck on that road, because if there is one, I stop them, I write them a summons,” he said. “I just had a guy in court just last week, I believe it was, for the no-through-truck route on Shady Brook Trail.”

Southwest District Supervisor Carl J. Faison asked, “Do you have any communication with the companies that these trucks are coming from?”

Wyche said, “Even if you talk to the company, the company can tell the trucker. But then again when that trucker leaves (to drive his route), he has a mind of his own.”

Northwest District Supervisor and Board Vice Chairman William Hart Gillette began to ask about the open-container trash truck that Lane had referenced, but Lane anticipated his question and quickly responded from her seat in the public seating area.

“It wasn’t a county trash truck,” she said. “It was an unidentifiable trash truck. (County trash trucks) don’t come down. They know better.”

Years ago, when Lane began noticing that a significant number of large, transfer trucks were using Shady Brook Trail/Route 650 as a shortcut, she led an effort to get signs put up stating that these trucks could not come through that residential area.

It took a little more than a year and three months of continued effort from Lane and her fellow citizens writing letters and attending Southampton County Board of Supervisors and committee meetings, but VDOT put four signs up in October 2021 — two on U.S. Route 58 and two on Route 671 — that read as follows: “Notice: Through trucks prohibited on Shady Br Tr.”