KNOXVILLE — A Tracy teenager was arrested after he allegedly destroyed several road signs with his vehicle on Aug. 19.
According to police officials, Joshua Paul Lopez, 18, of Tracy, was charged with suspicion of criminal mischief in connection with an Aug. 19 incident in which five Knoxville road signs were damaged or destroyed.
Knoxville police Chief Dan Losada said Tracy was arrested after a Snapchat video surfaced that allegedly showed Lopez running over the signs with his car,
Lopez also was charged with suspicion of reckless driving and disorderly conduct.
“A video of the incident was sent to someone that forwarded the video to the police,” Losada said.
The signs damaged include, two stop signs, one “curve ahead” sign and two “no parking” signs. Total damage was more than $1,000.
Signs keep drivers aware of what’s ahead, Losada said. Their absence can lead to accidents, serious injuries, or even death, he said.
“Damaging traffic signs is especially troublesome because of the potential harm,” Losada said. “There have been a number of cases where accidents have happened after someone stole a stop sign.”
A local resident may go through an intersection at the speed limit knowing there is a stop sign in place for a vehicle at the intersection.
With the stop sign missing, a driver might speed through the intersection not knowing there is a missing stop sign. Losada continued.
If this happens, a suspect could have been criminally and civilly liable, Losada continued. Painting over signs can also bring about danger, he said.
“Painting over signs eliminates the reflectivity of signs which means a driver could miss seeing the sign in low light situations,” Losada said.