NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Chris Castle has a front-row seat to what he sees as a dangerous and ongoing problem: cars zipping by his home on Hampton Boulevard, and in some cases he claims, racing.
He has a bin on his front porch filled with evidence of what is likely the most spectacular and tragic example. Parts of an Infiniti Q50 sedan that was southbound on the boulevard late on the night before Labor Day.
The car lost control, knocked down a tree in the median and began to break apart. It then sheared off a utility pole. A passenger in the car, Nitnjae V. Terry, 23, of Norfolk was killed. Castle found parts of the car in his yard, on his porch roof and embedded in his outside wall.
“Normally if a car hits a tree what happens – the car stops. You can only imagine how fast they must have been going,” he said.
Norfolk police told 10 On Your Side Wednesday afternoon that the section of Hampton Boulevard between the Old Dominion University campus and the U.S. Navy base is “an area of importance for speed enforcement by our Traffic Unit.”
Officers have issued more than 1,000 tickets on the boulevard so far this year.
As the Infiniti was careening down Hampton Boulevard about 11:25 p.m. the night before Labor Day, Larchmont resident Mike Cutter was riding in the family’s Chrysler Pacifica, his 16-year-old son behind the wheel.
“All of a sudden there was this sonic blast that occurred to our left-rear,” Cutter recalled.
His window was blown out by debris, and part of the Infiniti’s engine was embedded in his front tire.
Meanwhile, Castle recovered parts of the car from his porch roof, outside walls, and garage. A tire detached from the Infiniti and damaged his fence.
Cutter says he remembered seeing a gray streak — the Infiniti — and a black streak, too.
“I was informed by the police that they were two cars racing,” Cutter said in a Wednesday afternoon interview.
Police said they believe speed was a factor but haven’t said how fast. Cutter says no one in his vehicle was hurt, but the incident has damaged his well-being.
“I’m replaying it over and over in my mind – what would have happened if it was one second before or after?” he said.
Castle says cars come through there at high speeds virtually every evening.
“People think that’s it’s okay to race through the neighborhood,” he said, adding that police do have a presence. “They were out [Tuesday night] pulling people over. They do it a couple times a week and we appreciate that they’re doing that.”
The residents are looking for solutions. One idea was the installation of a traffic light at Hampton Boulevard and Jamestown Crescent, another was utilizing speed cameras but they are permissible only in school and work zones.