By Stan Welch
Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess is warning Palmetto High students, and their parents, that reckless driving near the schools may result in a traffic ticket.
Burgess recently posted the following statement on social media:
Attention Palmetto High students and parents:
Not so long ago, I too was a young (and dumb) driver. Just like you, I loved to squeal tires, drive way too fast and to show off my ride. The older I get, the more that I realize that my actions not only put my own life in danger but also endangered the lives of many innocent people around me. Fortunately, my stupid actions never resulted in serious injury, although I did lose my privilege to drive for a while.
As a deputy sheriff/SRO, I have held the hands of young drivers and told them that they would be ok as they took their last breath – all the while knowing that they would not be ok and would never make it home to their families who loved them. That is not something that I ever want to do again; nor do I ever want to see something like that happen in our community.
I do not want Williamston to be known as a speed trap (I lived through those days too) but I simply cannot ignore the reckless driving that is occurring on a frequent basis, especially in our school zones. Effective immediately, I have requested that our police officers be especially observant of reckless driving and to cite (without warning) anyone endangering the life of themselves or others. Please accept this public post a your only warning.
I need moms and dads to talk to your students and to help me with this important matter – it is likely your insurance that will be affected if your student is issued a traffic ticket.
The Journal called to confirm the post, and to give the mayor an opportunity to expand his comments.
The mayor explained that school traffic leaving Palmetto High School normally turns right as they exit the parking lots; a route that brings them past Burgess’s business. “They come by here flying, halfway sideways. Plus we have some students who walk down Depot Road, and the route for the cross country team is along that road. So I have spoken with Chief Taylor and instructed him to enforce the appropriate traffic laws with fervor. We have set no quotas but we do want to send a message that driving safely is expected of all our citizens and visitors.”