CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – The city of Cleveland Heights is considering a plan to buy a home at a notorious intersection that has been hit by numerous cars over the years.
One of the high-speed collisions happened in November 2021, when car being pursued by Cleveland Heights police spun out of control at the dead end of South Taylor Road and crashed into into the home on Fairmount Boulevard.
The homeowner, John Gall, was asleep on his couch at the time, but fortunately was not injured.
The November 2021 crash was one of five times that Gall’s house has been hit by an out-of-control car over the past 11 years.
“It’s in the back of my mind, you know? I can’t escape the fact that it could happen at any time and, you know, I guess I’ve kind of gotten used to it a little bit,” Gall said Wednesday.
Gall says when he bought the home, there was a guardrail along Fairmount to protect the house, but the barrier was removed during a road construction project. When cars started crashing into his house, he called city hall and complained.
“I was told ‘well, we can’t put a guardrail there because it would not be aesthetic pleasing.’ That was the first excuse and you know, it wouldn’t fit in with the neighborhood,” said Gall.
The city eventually put up warning signs in front of Gall’s house, but speeding cars smashed into the signs and continued to crash land on Gall’s property, so he lodged another complaint.
“They said, ‘it’s not our fault, we had nothing to do with it, it’s speeding motorists.’ Well, those speeding motorists tend to be being chased by Cleveland Heights police,” he said.
The city later placed large boulders in Gall’s front yard after another speeding car totaled his car and his garage.
“My contention is that I bought a house that had a guardrail, a known safety barrier, they took it away and didn’t replace it with anything better,” Gall said.
Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland Heights maintains there are no easy solutions to the traffic and engineering problem, so the city is now considering a plan to buy Gall’s house.
“We sympathize enormously with Mr. Gall,” said Mike Thomas, the Cleveland Heights communications director. “Having the threat of cars running into your house, I mean, that has to be pretty difficult to live with.”
Thomas says in light of state guidelines governing guard rails, city leaders believe buying the house may be the safest solution.
“Instead of mitigating the problem, this would eliminate it potentially because people will continue to speed. It’s inevitable. If they are going to have an accident there, we’d rather that they not hit a house that has people in it,” said Thomas.
But Gall says he plans to drive a hard bargain.
“I’m angry as hell. I’ve lived here for 27 years, the house is paid for, I’ve put in all kinds of improvements. Suddenly it’s a hazard and I have to move and they just offer me fair value. They failed to address the actual issue and they’ve done it for years. I’m just sick of it and I’m not going to roll over,” said Gall.
The city now plans to seek an appraisal of the house and could then make an offer to Gall.
In response, Gall told us that the city should plan on backing up a Brinks truck to his house.