DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A week after a crash between a vehicle and an animal-drawn wagon, officials in Dekalb County are collaborating to raise more awareness of Mennonite families in the area.
“They’re our neighbors and we want them to be safe just like everyone else,” Rainsville Police Chief Michael Edmondson said.
According to Edmondson, the majority of the Mennonite community live in Section in Jackson County. But they often travel between towns for necessities, like groceries. Along their route are dangerous state Highways 35 and 75 with drivers reaching speeds up to 65 miles per hour.
Warning signs for horse-drawn wagons currently sit along the busy roads, and more are expected.
“Possibly, get some signs put up on our stretch of roads. I think that we’re going to go over into Powell and there’s a little stretch in there that’s in the county,” explained Edmondson. “We just hope that people see the signs and it reminds them that, ‘Hey, I need to be slowing down a little bit and paying attention.'”
County officials also encourage all drivers to be cautious and remember the ways of the road. Alabama law states that animal-drawn vehicles, like a wagon pulled by a horse, have the same rights as regular vehicles on the roadway.
Currently, final decisions to add warning signs along the highway come from the state. Chief Edmondson told News 19 that city council members have already been in touch with the Department of Transportation to address the issue.
Rainsville resident Tine Deerman hopes the decision doesn’t take long.
“The signs are important to warn people to watch out for them and let people know that they are traveling. Not just Highway 35, but their own back roads too. This highway is so busy, there needs to be a lot more awareness for their safety.”
The accident happened on Highway 35 between the intersection of County Road 47 and Traylor Street.