Rubbernecking slowing down tornado clean-up

By Whitney Grunder - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Rubbernecking in tornado-damaged neighborhoods is creating a dangerous situation for workers and onlookers.

"A lot of times we're not watching the traffic," repairman Robin Son said. "We're watching other men, looking around. Looking for tools and stuff and it is a big problem, getting in the way. Especially, the trucks aren't the smallest trucks, they don't stop on a dime like little cars."

With hundreds of people driving through the streets to see the extent of the tornado damage, workers have to focus not only on getting their jobs done, but worrying about the safety of curious spectators.

"We could be cutting down and it could land on top of them, and if it could be hot and we would drop a pole, that would not be good," Son said.

These workers have seen curiosity turn into disaster.

"First day, we seen a wreck," Son said. "People taking pictures and a guy coming down the loop didn't stop."

It doesn't stop there.

"We seen people hit the ditches avoiding people taking pictures," said Son. He said he also saw someone hit a dog.

Justina Bogany was driving through, trying to check on family members affected by the storm. She says she should have called first.

"I was gonna try to get through here but I see it's so congested and in such a disarray, I can't even get back there to see her," Bogany said.

She is one of many concerned about loved ones. But several drivers admitted they just wanted to get a better look at the devastation. Cornelius Hamilton appreciates the support of those trying to help but agrees the congestion only hinders the recovery process.

"Let them do their job and let us get our families and everything situated around the neighborhood," Hamilton said.

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