Friday, April 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Woman seeks lower speed limit on Sly Park Rd.

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From page B1 | February 27, 2013 | 13 Comments

On Jan. 7, Marlene Ruth was traveling slower than the speed limit on Sly Park Road. She was being careful, as it was threatening to  snow. An hour earlier she had picked up her her car after having it fixed at Thompson’s Toyota, and was bringing her dogs home. A large black bird, possibly a crow, flew in front of the car and she swerved to avoid it, hitting a patch of ice and skidding into a tree.

“Sly Park Road — it’s absolutely a danger,” Ruth said. “That ice is slick. I never saw it.” But, she says, people routinely go fast along the road, something she has consistently seen since she moved to Pollock Pines in 1975.

Ruth, who coincidentally had upgraded her insurance after turning 70 years old, escaped the wreck with a fractured hand and shoulder. She thinks the impact might have rattled her brain a bit, as she can’t quite think as clearly — “My brain feels like something happened” from the “horrific jolt” — but she escaped relatively uninjured from a crash that totaled the car. She noted that she did not pass out and saw the entire accident happen before her eyes, “little parts of the car flying everywhere.”

Meanwhile, her two dogs in the car collapsed on top of each other in the crash, but made it out unscathed, much to Ruth’s surprise. Thankfully, her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease, was not in the car at the time, she said.

She does, however, have a mark where the seatbelt dug into her. “The seatbelt saved my life,” she said, though it still hurts. “It feels like a sailor’s rope around my stomach.”

After being taken to Marshall Hospital, where the service was “excellent,” Ruth was visited by an officer who told her she was lucky. Within an hour of her accident, another accident on Sly Park Road left Simeon Papkov dead and his daughter Lisa seriously injured.

“They might have passed me, seen the tow truck and everything,” Ruth said. “It was the ice. It had to be the ice.”

Ruth’s adult children later wrapped a purple ribbon around the tree to commemorate the accident and to warn others that the area is dangerous and that tree could eventually prove fatal. She knows of at least eight other deaths on the road since she moved to the county.

With the accidents and often being tailgated on the road, Ruth said she would like to see a change in the speed limit by making it lower. The area is beautiful, she said, and people should slow down and enjoy it — and possibly prevent accidents as a side effect.

Ruth said that, because of the injuries from her crash, she will probably have to cancel some meetings for the Parkinson’s Support Group that she runs, Ruth said. “I don’t like not being in control,” she said, something the accident has temporarily robbed her of. “Four ladies are looking after me, they kept telling me, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’”

The accident was a wakeup call to Ruth, she said. “When my kids come up from the Bay Area, and they want to go into town the first day,” Ruth said, “I tell them to not take that road.”

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Discussion | 13 comments

  • carolynFebruary 26, 2013 - 10:46 pm

    I agree with Ruth, Sly Park Road can be deadly. For the lives of our woodland animals and all life within the forest, we should reduce the speed limit on Sly Park Road.

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  • TomFebruary 26, 2013 - 11:52 pm

    Ruth is right. It is really a residential road as homes are all along it. Trees are within a foot of the pavement. When it gets icy cars slide all over the pavement. It is a major school bus route. The speed limit is too high for such a road.

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  • DaveFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:59 am

    Im sure Ruth's age had nothing to do with her crash.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 27, 2013 - 7:25 am

    All ages have trouble on Sly Park during winter--at lest this women survived...some have not. http://www.curlingrocks.net/news/usa-play-bronze-world-wheelchair-championship-sochi?page=4 For several years Claifornia and Nevada have been working on bring the Olympics to Reno/Tahoe. There are several rules to just "bidding" on the possibility of hosting them. Transportation is number one--housing--Play time (entertainment) Hwy 50 is a main route--Sly Park is another way to get there. Hosting Olympics--Reno/Tahoe did not get to bid for the 2022 games...but have their eyes set on the 2026 winter games. They are hosting the Scottish Curling in 2014. Tons of information out there...Reno/Tahoe Olympic games. Well, I for one hope no one dies this year on Sly Park Road--because it really could have been prevented. Hosting places bid seven years before the event. That gives places time to have "quality" visual and performing arts in place (people are coming from Europe and high art areas--and expect it). Housing-transportation (see airports: bay area-Reno-Tahoe-sac)--entertainment. Sports and sport areas have to sink lots of money into revamping their look. I would look at our top ski resorts. Good luck trying to lower that speed limit--visitors like to move faster...hopefully the animals can read the speed signs.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 27, 2013 - 7:28 am

    sorry about spelling mistakes--before people just attacking again--I have many links to these ideas--and I am more than willing to share :)

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  • cookie65February 27, 2013 - 9:58 am

    Not to be argumentative, LOL, but... So Ruth swerved on icy roads to avoid a bird and after crashing her car blames the speed limit. I'm sorry but I cannot make the connection between choosing to wreck your car rather than hitting a bird and the speed limit being the issue. Just for those of you who may be unaware, there is what is known as "basic speed law". This law means that you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. The CHP can write you a ticket for any speed regardless of a posted limit under the basic speed law. Every driver is not equal and driving on icy roads doesn't allow you to make sudden sharp turns and punishing everyone else for a poor choice is not the answer.

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  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 27, 2013 - 10:08 am

    Not to be argumentative . . . good one, Cookie! thx

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 27, 2013 - 10:36 am

    cookie--I agree...however I do know this road--and I know of many accidents on this road-and upping the speed limit is not going to lessen these accidents--not everyone has your knowledge...most people that visit are "happy" that they can go "fast" around curves. I lived on Sly Park--and of course, my mailbox was on the opposite side of Sly Park road--what an adventure to risk my life to get my bills. I t is a dangerous road...and that was almost 20 yrs ago.

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  • cookie65February 27, 2013 - 12:07 pm

    Frances, you make a valid point. And I don't dispute it. The CHP has a term for the accident being described in this letter. Driver error. People who have driven these roads for years don't leave the roadway in order to miss animals. I got a rash of nasty responses from people on here when I made comments to that effect about some flatlander who crossed into oncoming traffic in his prius near Camino. You cannot stop flatlanders from being flatlanders. Spring is coming and the wineries will be winding up thier wine tasting tours and weekend events... OH JOY!!!

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  • SHFebruary 27, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    I live off of Sly Park Road - the speed limit is fine. I mean no disrespect but a 70 year old lady swerves off the road to avoid a crow and crashes her own car should not be dictating how other people drive. She even admited to driving slower than the speed limit, so how does lowering the speed limit help? It obviously had no impact on her incident. I rarely see people speed on that road and for the ones foolish enough to do so will pay the price - changing the posted speed limit won't stop stupid people from being stupid. Waste of time.

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  • MACFebruary 27, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    Sorry, but changing a number on a sign will not slow people down or make black ice less slippery.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 27, 2013 - 5:05 pm

    Within an hour of her accident, another accident on Sly Park Road left Simeon Papkov dead and his daughter Lisa seriously injured.

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  • macschulzFebruary 27, 2013 - 9:43 pm

    As a resident who has driven on Sly Park Rd for over 12 years, Ms. Ruth's concerns over speed limits are well founded and not just based on her unfortunate experience. The bottom line is that there were 2 serious accidents that day, one fatal. The 2 lane road is twisty, poorly banked on turns, has no shoulder or adequate-safe room for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and is well traveled by deer and other 4 legged critters. It is a key route for logging trucks, school busses, and tourists taking the scenic Mormon Emigrant Trail to Tahoe and those with RV's and boat trailers to Jenkinson's Lake. Also, many streets and driveways accessing the road are steeply graded don't provide clear views of cross traffic. Posting lower speed limits seems to be the only reasonable way to inform all types of drivers of these hazardous conditions.

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