Streets of Speed: FM 849 - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/29/04-Smith County

Streets of Speed: FM 849

Between Lindale and Hideaway Lake on F.M. 849 lay acres of open pastures, a peaceful landscape, until yet another driver wrecks the white fence that lines the curving road.

It's clearly marked with a 45-mph speed limit, and sign after sign warning drivers to be careful-- especially on a rainy day like today. Bill and Donna Liebbe have 17 stories of motorists who have hit their property, some while braking in the middle of the curve and others while speeding, distracted, or intoxicated.

"He lost control and ran into the brick entry, disabled his car," Bill said. "There were beer cans and marijuana inside it."

The Liebbes called the DPS, and the drunk driver fled his car on foot.

"Turned out, he'd gone down to a neighbor's pond," Bill said. "This is in December. He got down into the water and went into the water every time the police cars or DPS would drive by."

Another time, a woman trying to save a cake from sliding off her passenger seat ended up spinning out of control and into the pasture.

"Of course, the horses were just going nuts," Bill said. "Fortunately, she wasn't hurt. The cake didn't make it though."

In the latest accident, the driver just missed the warning sign and came plowing right into this fence, another hit and run, leaving the Liebbes with now a total of about $10,000 in unrecovered damages.

"I'm pretty fed up," Donna said. "I'm pretty fed up. The fence company's on speed dial."

The Liebbes have seen plenty of TX-DOT crews, too.

"An hour after they re-put up the signs from the accident, somebody hit it again, the same one," Donna said.

So far, the Liebbes say, no one's been seriously injured, so they're urging drivers to slow down before someone does get hurt.

KLTV called TX-DOT about the recurring accidents on F.M. 849, and an engineer told us they would look into the problem to try to find a solution.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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