We’ve all been inconvenienced by road signs, whether it be signs denoting the speed limit hidden behind low-hanging tree branches or a one mile road with twenty stop signs. Stop signs in particular can be frustrating, sure, but one man took his road rage to a whole new level, running down twenty stop signs with his van.
It didn't take long before police became aware of the mad stop sign bandit and put an end to his wrath. They received a report of a van that "hit several street signs and drove erratically tailgating and flashing a bright light behind a car," police said, according to KSBW.
On September 3rd, Christopher Ellebracht, 38 years old, drove his white van through the streets knocking down the signs. He hit and knocked over stop signs and poles on Almar Street, West Cliff Drive, and Delaware Avenue. In addition to terrorizing stop signs, the van driver continued his rampage by tailgating another car and flashing his lights. When the police were notified, they attempted to pull him over, but Ellebracht led them on a merry chase up Highway 12 in Santa Cruz. In the end, both San Jose California Highway Patrol officers and Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies chased him down a dead end street where Ellebracht finally gave up. In the end, he "intentionally destroyed 15 stop signs and five street signs with his van", Blaschke said, according to Santa Cruz Sentinel.
While it's easy to see the humor in a man rampaging through the city taking out his angst on innocent stop signs, stop signs are very important and a necessary part of car and pedestrian safety. For the most part, these traffic signs are placed at intersections that see a lot of traffic or might have had a high number of accidents and traffic incidents in the past. Also, other cars stopped at the signs are endangered when someone comes plundering through the intersection and uprooting the signs.
After the incident, the Santa Cruz public works crews put in many hours repairing and replacing the signs and poles. Police probably don't find any humor in Ellebracht's antics and will probably take this matter very seriously. While the charges aren't know, speculation of them might include charges of reckless driving, damaging government property and other traffic related charges. Further speculation, might include a rather large fines, repayment of damages and some possible jail time in Ellebracht's future. Of course, it's hard not to wonder what ever possessed Ellebracht to go off on such a rampage. One might wonder if drugs, drinking or mental illness might have played a role in this evening of destruction.