About 3:40am on Saturday, Nov. 26, a driver headed south on University Avenue failed to make the 90-degree left turn onto Mason Street, where it connects to Front Street. Her vehicle, a late model Mercedes E53, hurtled across the opposite lane and sidewalk, ran through a fence and plowed into a vacant lot, causing extensive damage to the car. The driver was unhurt.
The turn is a 90-degree turn marked by a yellow sign with a 15mph arrow. Coming from the other direction, a similar sign indicates the right turn to drivers, but it’s a frequently exceeded speed limit, and dangerous turns are not uncommon, said the owner of the property at 444 Mason St.
The following morning, trucks from Cloverdale Tow and All-City Tow of Healdsburg arrived about 10 to extricate the car. They were able to winch it out of the yard and remove it by 11:30am.
Claire Savona, who lives locally but not on the property, purchased it earlier this year and cleared the over-abundant foliage from the lot. She has noticed the high speed at which drivers take the turn and it troubles her.
“If there’s a lesson here, it’s to slow down,” she said as the car was pulled onto the All City Tow trailer, the remains of the white picket fence beneath its muddy wheels.
The incident was called into the Healdsburg Police at 3:43am, as a property damage only accident. Chief Matt Jenkins said the driver admitted she lost control on the curve, saying she was driving fast because it was a sports car.
Alcohol was not a factor in the accident, said Jenkins.
“I will have the PD provide accident data to see if there is a trend and have my staff look to see if we can make improvements,” said Larry Zimmer, the city’s public works director.