Roads

California Roads Council Puts Up 'Don't Be Roadkill' Sign About Pedestrian Safety Near Where Sheriff's Deputy Ran Over and Killed Two People

Kern County

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KBAK/KBFX

This month the Kern Council of Governments (KernCOG, an "association of city and county governments" that is a "state-designated Regional Transportation Planning Agency") launched an advertising campaign to promote road safety. Among the advertisements is the billboard to the right, warning bicyclists not to be roadkill, located a few blocks from where in 2011, John Swearingen, a deputy sheriff for Kern County, ran over and killed two people pushing a motorcycle down the road. He was going 80 miles an hour without his lights or sirens on when he hit Daniel Hiler and Chrystal Jolley, who police found not at fault. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to community service and probation. The county paid out $8.8 million to settle the case and Swearingen remained on the force.

KBAK Eyewitness News in Bakersfield talked to Daniel Hiller's mother:

"I'd ask them to put something more decent up and not be calling people road kill," the mother said. "To be called road kill is really disturbing."

"That is not meant to be, by any means," Kern Council of Governments Rideshare coordinator Susanne Campbell responded. 

But, she said the group wants to send out a safety message that will have an impact.

"We have a lot of collisions every year," she said.

Campbell said Bakersfield police reported nine fatal accidents involving pedestrians and one with a bike rider in 2013. The next year, the city saw 10 pedestrians killed and three bike riders. And so far this year, seven pedestrians and one bike rider have died in crashes.

Campbell told Eyewitness News the county solicited feedback from residents, asking them "Tell us what you think? Will it be accepted? We don't want to offend." Nevertheless the spokesperson said the government wanted an ad campaign with an "impact" that would be "memorable." The billboard will be up for at least a month.

Last year, the Kern County Sheriff's Office launched a road safety campaign of its own, auditing how fast its deputies were driving and monitoring seatbelt and cellphone use. At the time the sheriff told KBAK in the previous ten years at least four deputies were killed in traffic, mostly not wearing seatbelts and where speed was a factor.

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  1. California Roads Council Puts Up ‘Don’t Be Roadkill’ Sign About Pedestrian Safety Near Where Sheriff Ran Over and Killed Two People

    Oh man, I was taking a puff from my e-cigarette when I read that and I fucking choked. Thanks a lot.

    1. First time smoking an e-cig? Gotta go smooth on the drag, brah.

    2. “Swigen! COCKSUCKA!!”

      1. They never did wrap up that show. Cocksuckers.

        1. Fucking writer’s strike.

  2. Now that’s how you do victim-blaming.

    1. It’s not Swearingen’s fault. It’s all the hoopleheads daring to get in his way.

  3. How about an ad campaign targeted at drivers to, I dunno, stop running over people? The police will of course ignore it since they know they can just extract the cost from the taxpayers they don’t kill… but it couldn’t hurt.

  4. How about not putting up signs that take a driver’s attention away from the road?

    1. That too.

    2. Yes. Like those endless, lazy, racist South of the Border signs. I can’t look away.

  5. Last year, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office launched a road safety campaign of its own, auditing how fast its deputies were driving and monitoring seatbelt and cellphone use.

    This just in: Kern County deputies have the weakest union in all the land.

    1. Wait, you’re not assuming that there’s going to be some kind of consequences for the officers resulting from those audits, are you?

      1. Promotions and vacations?

    2. They don’t need a union. Their cops enjoy the adoration of the public so much, they can freely shoot people for brandishing a bag of beer cans, they can confiscate phones from witnesses to abuse and then hand them back destroyed and they can even put “we’ll bite your ass” on their K9 cars without a peep.

      They’re scum.

  6. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to community service and probation.

    Pretty much the deal you or I would get if we killed two people while breaking numerous traffic laws.

    If I was independently wealthy, I’d put up a billboard as close as possible with a picture of the cop in uniform, and the caption “Don’t be a Road Killer”.

    1. …and Swearingen remained on the force.

      I take my earlier comment back. Pretty good union to keep a man with a manslaughter record and serving probation on the job that requires carrying a gun and permits driving faster than the legal limit. The cocksucker.

      1. It seems odd to me that there is a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the first place. You still killed someone, but that’s not a felony? Resisting arrest is typically a felony.

        IF he had gotten a felony conviction, they would have had to have taken him off the force do to gun laws.

        Not a day in jail, either…

      2. It what other line of work could you cost your employer nearly $9 million (even if it’s paid by insurance) and still keep your job? If I cost my employer $9 million in a malpractice suit, not only would I be fired, I’d be blacklisted from other firms as well.

    2. There used to be a police car upside down all fucked up on Hwy 33 near Stanardsville, VA with a giant sign that said “Local Police Out Of Control” or something like that beside it. The landowner bought it at auction after it was wrecked and put it there. The local cops tried a million ways to force him to get rid of it but they were never successful.

      Of course, he probably wasn’t able to drive 1 mph over the speed limit without getting a ticket, but he had balls.

  7. What is it with government parasites and their love of threatening the citizenry? Oh wait, it goes hand in hand. Exhibit B: the anti-drunk-driving ads which are explicit, outright threats that they are going to “get you” and “this night will cost you $10,000” and the like.

    I mean, there’s no way the psychology of the people drawn to these positions in the first place would make them prone to this or anything. No way.

    1. The ads where they basically admit to hiding and looking out for people walking away from restaurants and bars so they can follow them and pull them over (which is illegal)? Those ads?

      1. The new ones around here basically tell you how much they’re going to extort from you if you get nailed for DUI. The last one I saw explicitly set it at $10,000 and says something like “one night could cost you $10,000”.

        But all of the variations are the same. They all just simply say “you are our prey”.

        1. If I see one more goddamn sign saying buzzed driving is drunk driving, I’m dusting off the old woodchipper.

        2. You’re all just a bunch of cop hating bigoratti!

          /dunphy

          (heh, man I do not miss that asshole and his walls of text.)

      2. Among the more creepy “big brother” ads going.

    2. I heard an anti-drunk-driving ad which warned against the legal fees ruining people who were *charged,* without mentioning conviction.

  8. People sometimes call me a pussy because I always use my seat belt. Hey, I drive on the same roads the police do.

    1. Is that why you think they call you a pussy?

      ::pats $park? on the head condescendingly::

      1. Yeah. I thought it was because he liked Ke$ha.

        1. Yeah well, the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate
          But I’m just gonna shake shake shake shake shake
          Shake it off, shake it off

      2. “Some have called me a coward, but others have called me a pussy. Understand?”

  9. In other news, the Ferguson police have new road signs advising motorists to make sure they safely strap in their guests in their seats before driving around.

    1. And Baltimore admins are putting up signs that say “Abandon All Hope Ye That Enter Here” with a skull and bones in the middle.

  10. Campbell told Eyewitness News the county solicited feedback from residents, asking them “Tell us what you think? Will it be accepted? We don’t want to offend.” Nevertheless the spokesperson said the government wanted an ad campaign with an “impact” that would be “memorable.” The billboard will be up for at least a month.

    By “residents”, something tells me they actually mean “police officers and their family members”.

    1. Yeah, I noticed how they never said what the residents actually thought about the sign.

      1. The larger article says they wholeheartedly approved, which is why I assume they didn’t actually talk to a very varied selection of residents.

        KernCOG’s Susanne Campbell told Eyewitness News the bike safety message on Chester and Norris will stay in that location for at least a month. The messages will be rotated among the locations.

        She said KernCOG had checked with the local bicycle and pedestrian safety coalition to get their feedback as they developed the billboard messages.

        “Tell us what you think? Will it be accepted? We don’t want to offend,” she says they asked, “Everybody pushed for it, because they knew that would have an impact and sink in.”

        1. If you don’t want to offend, prove it by not offending.

  11. And the KernCOG is going to need an increase in their advertising budget.

  12. A: The sign you put up with my money is disturbing.
    B: it’s not meant to be. Therefore, you are wrong.

    Being a bureaucrat means never having to say you’re sorry.

  13. I would like to say that sending the Kern County Council of Governments a note about this would be totally wrong and you shouldn’t do it.

  14. OT:

    So I followed another link on the news site to find this article, about a Sheriff’s estranged wife who was mauled by a Police K-9. Apparently her son had done something wrong. Her son didn’t actually live with her, but hey. And they should have known that, since the kid’s dad was the Sheriff, but hey. They knocked, but she was asleep, and since she didn’t answer, because she was asleep, they sicced the dog on her.

    A bit of googling tells me that nothing else happened. The taxpayers ended up giving her a $500,000 settlement.

    1. Sheriff’s estranged wife who was mauled by a Police K-9. Apparently her son had done something wrong. Her son didn’t actually live with her, but hey. And they should have known that, since the kid’s dad was the Sheriff, but hey.

      Or maybe they did. And now Youngblood owes them a favor.

      1. Apparently my sarcasm didn’t bleed through the screen there quite as much as I’d hoped it would.

    2. Imagine them finding that some “civilian’s” estranged wife had been mauled by that “civilian,” who claimed self-defense or some other excuse.

  15. California is determined to fuck up everything good: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..04366.html

  16. “It’s your fault for being run over, you civilians!”

    1. ^This is what cops actually believe!

  17. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to community service and probation. The county paid out $8.8 million to settle the case and Swearingen remained on the force.

    So he made it home safely.

  18. misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter

    Holy shit. You can kill two people and be charged with a misdemeanor? I guess that’s a special charge reserved to only cops. Anyone else would have been in the klink for 20 years.

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