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Drivers keep crashing into community's gates, residents left to pay for the repairs

Posted at 1:42 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 21:34:22-04

It’s been an ongoing problem for one northwest Bakersfield gated neighborhood.

The entrance and exit gates for the Northwoods community have been broken multiple times because people keep driving through them.

"This has happened a bunch of different times," said Mike Richey, a resident and a member of the home owner's association. 

"We've lived here about 14 years and it's happened about a dozen times."

The last two incidents happening within six months of one another. 

In August of 2016 a woman under the influence of alcohol hit three cars before slamming into the gates. 

The incident was caught on security footage and she was later arrested, but had no insurance. She was put on probation and owe's the property management company $6,320 for the damage. 

Most recently, on March 18th, a man in what looks like a white, Honda Civic slammed into the exit gates, damaging them. 

The residents are still looking for that person and are asking for the community's help to identify the driver. 

In the meantime, they are left without one of their gates and with the cost to repair it. 

The gates have been broken enough times that the HOA's insurance made them install security cameras to catch the culprits.

"Insurance was telling us at that point was telling us that we had so many claims in such a short amount of time that they were going to drop us so it was all these different things that we had to do to try to maintain our insurance," said Richey. 

"I don't think we've had one time yet where someone has like run through it and stopped and said 'Oh I'm sorry.' or "Here's my insurance," said Richey. 

The homeowners are stuck splitting the cost of the repairs. 

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Richey said the home owner's association, along with the property management company, have been working with the city to see if they can get speed bumps installed in the area to slow people down. During the first week of April the city installed a 25 miles per hour sign on Riverlakes Dr., north of Olive Dr. and a 10 miles per hour sign to warn drivers about the upcoming turn.

Residents speculate part of the problem is that drivers don't realize the speed limit changes on Riverlakes Drive once they are north of Olive Drive. South of Olive Dr., the speed limit is 45 miles per hour, but north of Olive Drive the speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour. 

Ed Murphy with Bakersfield City Traffic Engineering said it wouldn't be plausible to have speed bumps installed that particular part of the street. He said roadways must have a long straightaway and a history of excessive speeding.   

Murphy said, right now, the street is in full compliance with 

"Accidents happen and stuff like that and if it happens just stop, give your insurance information and take care of it. Otherwise you're taking off and you're leaving it for everyone else to have to pay for," said Richey. 

They are asking anyone with information about who this is to contact Bakersfield Police at 327-7111 case # 17-63331.