Speed Busters: Speeders killing peacocks in St. Pete neighborhood

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) - Our Speed Busters series heads to Pinellas County on Thursday. Our News Channel 8 traffic reporter Leslee Lacey lands in the Jungle Terrace neighborhood of St Petersburg, where peacocks are abundant.

The residents are proud as a peacock of their lush neighborhood on Park Street near Elbow Lane. But, high speeds and distracted drivers are getting their feathers ruffled.

That's because a clan of peacocks cross their street, but residents claim it's the drivers who are acting like bird brains.

The peacocks have resided in this neighborhood since the 1950s. Neighbor Jackie Kanner lives on Park Street and has grown up with the peacocks.

"We all love the birds," she said of her neighbors. Jackie's lawn is filled with peacock statues and ornaments. But, it's the speeders that have Jackie crying fowl.

"I have seen too many cars speed down Park Street going way too fast," said Jackie. "A speeding car hit a magnificent peacock. It was devastating to me when [my friend] Kathy carried that magnificent bird to my front door, hysterical and crying. It so affected me."

So Jackie called Leslee in hopes that Speed Busters could bring attention to the speeding issue and the safety of the peacocks.

Kathy Weber does landscaping on Park Street and considers herself an honorary peacock crossing guard.

"I run in the middle of the road and wave my arms. One got hit in front of me that I was trying to get across the road. There was a guy in my lane going about 50 mph and he was on his phone, and he just slammed right into the bird and he never stopped."

Kathy was devastated seeing the bird lose it's life so violently. She took the bird's body to Jackie's lawn, where she sat with it for 15 minutes. They later buried it together in Jackie's backyard, beside her family pet that had passed away. Both ladies kept some of the bird's feathers as a reminder of his beauty.

So Leslee began Speed Busting. Leslee's first time pointing her radar gun, she caught a vehicle traveling 50 mph down the 35 mph brick street. She then caught two vehicles going 53 mph and several in the upper 40s.

Both Jackie and Kathy are hoping that people will slow down and pay attention when they begin traveling across the bricks.

"When you hit the bricks, it's a peacock crossing," said Kathy. "People who drive on this road know the peacocks are here. So pay attention. That's all we want people to do. Pay attention and go the speed limit."

Kathy and Jackie have seen speed enforcement from the St Petersburg Police Department, but say it isn't solving the problem.

Leslee has reached out to Charlie Geredes, who is the council member for this area. The city council is out this week, but she will be following up to see what can be done to help these concerned residents.

If you have a speed issue in your neighborhood, contact Leslee at her WFLA Leslee Facbook page and she will bring Speed Busting to you.


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