Nail vandals risk lives and serious charges

  • An industrial magnet attached to a PMCPOA truck has picked up thousands of nails from PMC roadways recently. [photo by Gary Meyer]

    An industrial magnet attached to a PMCPOA truck has picked up thousands of nails from PMC roadways recently. [photo by Gary Meyer]

The vandal(s) placing one-inch roofing nails at intersections of Pine Mountain community roads could be the cause of a serious accident—and may be opening themselves up for serious trouble with the law, officials said this week.

“You could be driving down the freeway at a high speed and have a nail you’ve picked up push into a tire, causing a driving problem,” CHP Officer Adriaan Garcia said in an interview October 21. He cautioned that when a tire is losing air, the car may start to wobble. If panicked drivers slam on the brakes while driving on mountain curves or on the freeway at a high rate of speed, they could lose control. Collision with another vehicle or running off the road could cause injuries or death.

Deliberately causing impairment to a vehicle can escalate an act of vandalism into a serious crime with serious charges, Sgt. Mark Brown of the Kern County Sheriff’s Frazier Park substation said. He noted that reckless disregard for human life can lead to charges of involuntary manslaughter or criminal negligence, with criminal penalties and civil suit liability.

If you do have a blowout or a tire failure, Garcia said, “The best thing to do is to let up on the gas slowly and move over to the center divider or the right shoulder, without hitting the brakes.”

He suggests that motorists do a quick check of their their tires before each trip during this time, “to be sure you don’t have anything in your tires.” Garcia added that pulling the nail out is not a good idea: “The air will come out more quickly when you pull out the nail. Go to a place where it can be fixed and let them take it out.”

The Pine Mountain Club POA on Saturday, Oct. 19 asked that anyone with information about the nail vandalism contact the sheriff or PMC Patrol.

–By Patric Hedlund

This is part of the October 25, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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