Lack of lighting troubles hit-and-run victim’s family

Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-07 18:45:25-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- The family of Chris Coleman, the 20-year-old from Chesterfield who was killed after being hit by two cars while crossing Hopkins road on Tuesday, is asking Chesterfield County what can be done about the lack of lighting in the area at night.

A single street light at the intersection of Little Creek Lane and Hopkins is the only substantial source of light for a 200-yard stretch of Hopkins.

“This stretch of road is very dark,” says Earl Coleman, Chris Coleman’s father.  “We just want some answers.”

Richard Leonard with Chesterfield County’s Department of Environmental Engineering has those answers.

Leonard has overseen every new street light installation in Chesterfield for the past 23 years.

“We don’t know until you come to us,” says Leonard when asked about how they judge where new street lights are installed.

According to Leonard, new street lights in Chesterfield are put up only after someone files a petition with his office.

Those petitions are available on the Department of Environmental Engineering’s website

A typical street light emits 200 feet of light.  For that reason, 75% of the people living within a 200 ft. radius of where the light is going to be installed must sign off on the petition.

“We pretty much get 99% of them through,” says Leonard.

Leonard then gets an estimate from Dominion Virginia Power on installation costs.  Any project estimated to cost more than $300 requires approval from the Board of Supervisors.  If the cost is less than $300, Leonard can approve it on his own.

Most projects, Leonard says, take about four months to complete from the time they hit his desk.

No street light petitions have been filed for anywhere near the area of Hopkins Rd. where Coleman was hit, according to Leonard.

“There’s plenty of poles marching up and down the road, many of which have transformers, and that’s the cheapest place to put a light,” says Leonard.

There’s a pole fitting that description in Michael Bowles’ front yard, just ¼ mile from the accident scene.  Bowles says he’d sign a petition to have street lights installed on Hopkins.

“I think it’s a safety hazard right here with the way the traffic flows through here,” says Bowles.

If you want more information on street light installation in Chesterfield County follow the hyper link in the above article.