LABELLE, Fla. — Following a series of major accidents on Case Road — two of which were deadly — people in LaBelle met at a local church on the road to talk about making the area safer.
“We all have children, and we must make changes,” expressed Laura Escobedo, who lost her nephew on this road about three weeks ago.
A hit-and-run driver killed 15-year-old Eduardo Escobedo as he was riding his bike on Case Road.
The driver still hasn’t been found and Eduardo’s family is worried more families could lose someone.
“This road is not safe at all. By all means, a child should be able to have the right to ride a bike and not be victimized the way Eduardo was,” Escobedo said.
The concern for safety in the area was heightened when Florida Highway Patrol reported another hit-and-run incident just one week later, where a vehicle veered off State Road 29, crashing into an industrial fire hydrant and spilling more than 85,000 gallons of purified water.
Then, just two days after that, a dump truck collided head-on with a pickup truck on 29, claiming two lives and sending three others to the hospital.
That’s why the community here called this meeting – to discuss with the county the possibility of installing speed humps and street lighs on these roads.
Hendry County officials said rumble strips on Case Road had previously been installed but were removed due to noise complaints from residents. In response to residents’ requests for speed humps and lighting on Case and Evans Road, County Commissioner Emory “Rowdy” Howard provided blank petitions to a landowner(s) in this area so they can obtain the required signatures.
If at least 70% of people support the installation of speed humps and at least 51% request street lighting, the county will move forward with a plan to install them.
Tony Tolar, a resident of Case Road, expressed gratitude towards the County response. "There's a lot of things that are needed to be done, and right now the county is addressing that issue, and I'm proud of them."
Laura Escobedo and remains hopeful that the community can unite to bring about change, stating, "I believe as a community and as parents, uncles, we can do this. We can do this together."