Truckers Causing Problems on I-20 Service Road

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - Truckers taking over the road and they're just pulling over and parking wherever they want, according to one Midland County woman and she's sick of it.

There's only so much local agencies, including law enforcement, can do to put the breaks on the problem.

Glynda Southerland is a resident from Greenwood and she uses the East I-20 service road to get to work but she says that road was a safe one until truck drivers trying to get into the Sooner Pipe Company stock yard started making it a very dangerous one.

She's gone to the Texas Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Safety and the Sheriff's department about this problem and she said she won't stop until it's taken care of.

"A truck pulled in front of me facing east in my westbound lane and blocked me completely where I could not go forward and he kept hollering at me to back up in the highway," Southerland said.

She said things like this happen everyday on her drive to work. Truckers hauling pipes into Sooner Pipe Co. creating a traffic hazard for everyone who uses that stretch of the I-20 service road.

"More than once have I had to hit my breaks to keep from hitting them," Southerland said. "They pull in front of me because they know that I'm going to stop or be killed, one or the other."

Southerland says the truckers not only cross into oncoming traffic. "They are blocking the traffic where you have to stop until they get in the yard."

She also said they completely ignore no parking signs along the road.

She went to the owner of Sooner Pipe Co. who told her he doesn't have any control over where those trucks park.

Now she's taken matters into her own hands, snapping pictures of the trucks and even telling them to move from the no parking zones, but she can't do it alone, and that's where she finds herself stuck.

"It's not on their property," Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter said. "They have no authority. All they can do is talk to their drivers and tell them to move. The only difference we can do is if they don't comply, then we can arrest them and seize their truck."

"It seems as though nothing is being done unless I stand there and call the sheriff to regulate this problem," Southerland said.

But even Sheriff Painter said they can only do so much.

"We have to rely on the driver to obey the law, when they don't, then we have to step in and do something," he said. "We can't have people out there everyday at every time of the day."

He said the company has taken action by adding a separate exit for the trucks to use, but sometimes there can be anywhere between 60 to 80 trucks trying to get inside the stockyard, leaving them no choice but to park along the road.

"That is a lot of traffic and the property can only hold so much with what they've got," Painter said. "Our job is to have people voluntarily comply with the law, whatever manner we can do it."

"It seems like that has become my job, to make sure that truckers are complying with the law," Southerland said. "If they would do what they're supposed to do and make sure that the 18-wheelers are coming in and out of their business safely then I wouldn't have to be there."

The owner of Sooner Pipe Company was out of town but he did contact us by phone. Joe Phillips said they're aware of Southerland's concerns and safety is a priority for them.

He said they have increased their yard size to help the problem and he said they're also working closely with the Sheriff's department to see what they can do about it.

Southerland said she's just trying to prevent an accident before it happens. She's on the agenda to speak to Midland County Commissioners about the issue on Monday.