Greenville tour 300GREENVILLE, Ky. (7/8/14) — 'It could have been much worse,' Greenville Mayor Ed DeArmond said, speaking of the most recent of several incidents of erratic driving through downtown Greenville.

Just hours after the downtown square was filled with people enjoying the live music Saturday night, a drunk driver who thought he was in Owensboro ran into a wall next to the Greenville Presbyterian Church. As of Sunday he was still in jail.

"It's a bit disheartening that a rash of impaired drivers are damaging areas in the middle of the city's massive downtown improvement project," DeArmond said. "The city is attempting to maintain its appearance, only to have a few out-of-towners drive through and wipe out some of your infrastructure."

DeArmond continued, referring to at least two recent incidents where drivers have caused damage to the historic downtown Greenville area.

"Both of the most recent incidents occurred early in the morning hours," DeArmond said. "Thankfully, they did not collide with some innocent bystander. I would urge everyone to call 9-1-1 if you observe anyone driving erratically, day or night.

There was a planter that deflected the most recent driver, the first one nicked the historic clock. The second driver side swiped the clock. The incident this past weekend could have been tragic. The driver was from Owensboro and was driving drunk. He hit a utility pole, then swerved past Rite Aid, took out a pedestrian pole, then hit a wall in front of Greenville Presbyterian Church, right next to the square."

DeArmond said that, thankfully, police were doing their jobs well and were on him in no time. But that doesn't reduce the mayor's bafflement at the rash of bad drivers downtown.

"What I don’t understand is you could drive a semi truck that time of the morning and not hit anything," DeArmond said. "I don't think it’s intentional, but the second one has been charged with leaving the scene. He is paying the city restitution. If he misses a payment he goes to jail. Over the weekend, the other was charged with driving under the influence. The state highway department is going to send a crew to set up a temporary barrier."

DeArmond went on to describe the condition of this past weekend's impaired driver incident.

"How he made it this far, I will never know," DeArmond said. "He thought he was in Owensboro. If you had met him out in the road it would have been bad news. I have seen my share of these type drivers in my years on the state police force, and I have seen it end very, very badly. He was lucky, and we were lucky."

DeArmond repeated that he hopes citizens in the area will be extra attentive to the signs of bad driving, and call 9-1-1 when they witness incidents.

"Whether it's due to cell phone use, or impaired driving from alcohol or drugs, we need everyone's help," DeArmond said. "You try to get grants, get things looking good, and then something like this happens. In my experience, I’ve arrested DUIs from midnight to midnight, I’ve caught some out early on a Sunday morning. They may drink into the wee hours of the morning, sleep a little, and then get back behind the wheel while they are still heavily under the influence. Also, someone could be having a medical issue, or any number of things, you never know. Whatever the cause, an inattentive driving should be reported."

Paul McRee
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