Debro Dangers: Accidents appear to be increasing at historic hill

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 19, 2002

A vehicle accident at Debro Hill near River Falls Thursday injured one person, and according to River Falls Police Chief Jeff Holland, Thursday's accident is another good example of a continuing problem.

Holland, who has been with the town's police department for 10 years, said there have been many accidents near or on Debro Hill, and that seemingly there has been an inordinate amount of accidents at the site recently.

"A problem area is a curve near an old pickling plant which is about 100 yards from the railroad track which marks the city limit going into Andalusia," said Holland. "The curve is one that does not have much banking and it is pretty much just a level curve, but there is a lot more curve to it than some people may realize, and this can especially be a problem when it rains."

He noted that the site is a particularly busy one, with traffic coming from both U.S. 84 and Highway 55, and said many of the problems revolve around increased speed.

"People do drive fast going down Debro Hill, and people also seem to drive fast on the flat entering into the City of Andalusia," said Holland.

He said the obvious solution for the problem at or near Debro Hill might be increased patrol, but he said the solution is not quite that simple.

"Mainly I would say we

could just increase patrol (at the site), but (the River Falls Police Department) is limited in manpower," said Holland. "I know there are some (Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs or ADECA) grants out there to help with overtime hours and things like that, and it is our intention to explore any grants that might be available."

Holland said, while it is noted that perhaps many people do use excessive speed when traveling on or near Debro Hill, the amount of speeding tickets issued at the site is actually fairly low compared to the ratio of traffic at the site.

"People I think tend to drive especially fast in the early part of the day where there is not as much traffic on the road," said Holland. "This is probably between 1 and 4 in the morning."

Despite the ongoing problems at the spot, Holland said it is extremely fortunate that there has only been one fatality noted.

"We had one man die when he went off the curve and he actually veered into one of the concrete vats at the pickling plant," said Holland.