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Downtown worker takes on cause to prevent accidents in power outages

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - When the lights went out in April Montoya's office Tuesday, she got a home made sign out and went immediately to the street corner. She wanted to prevent car crashes, and likely did.

Montoya says the street lights were not working and drivers were not following the Vehicle Code rules. That requires anyone in a motor vehicle to treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

Her sign said "Stop. No signal." She was set up at the intersection of Santa Barbara Street at Figueroa.

Many drivers did stop. Some saw the sign and hit the brakes immediately. Others blew right past her.

It is a scary situation she says, when cars are coming from different directions, pedestrians are crossing and, as was the case Tuesday, the roads were wet from a storm.

Montoya works for the Famers and Merchants Trust Company on the corner where she held out the sign. "They are not paying attention," she said as three vehicles went by without stopping.

It's a half a block from the police station but she understands there aren't enough officers to do traffic control at intersections when the power is out.

Ironically about two blocks away, at another intersection where the signals were out, two vehicles hit, and one rolled over. There were no serious injuries, but it was the same type of situation where Montoya was doing her good deed.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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