Drivers voice concerns about black material covering signs on Palmetto Expressway

Drivers fear material could fall, causing serious injury or death

By Layron Livingston - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - What one South Florida driver saw along her commute left her feeling a bit uneasy, so she sent an email to the "Leave it to Layron" team.

Amy Dawkins wrote: "I wanted to bring this issue to your attention: There are stretches of [highway] that have some sort of black material draped over the expressway signs."

Dawkins included a couple of photos showing the tattered black material covering signs on the Palmetto Expressway at the Northwest 36th Street exit.

Another photo was taken at the South River Drive and Okeechobee Road exit.  You can also see black coverings on other signs in the background of the photos.

Dawkins detailed how those coverings have been whipped and beaten by rain and wind, and have only gotten more and more loose throughout the past several weeks.

Her concern was that those covers could potentially sail to the highway below or land on someone's windshield causing a serious, or deadly crash.

We took Dawkin's message to the Florida Department of Transportation. A department spokesperson responded in an email and said the covers along the Palmetto Expressway are part of FDOT's ongoing Palmetto Express construction project.

The covers do undergo regular maintenance and are now in the process of being repaired, or replaced.

FDOT officials said the maintenance work at Northwest 36th Street began Wednesday night. That work is expected to continue Thursday, Friday and Monday for all of the sign covers.

***Update to previous LITL story:

Marti Wietor also recently left her problem to the LITL team. Wietor, a widow, was forced to downsize after her husband of more than 30 years passed away a couple of years ago.

She agreed to consign many of her collectibles with 420 E. Consignment in Wilton Manors. The store is owned by Kara McCormick.

Wietor said she initially received two checks, for about $100 each. 

"Last August, [McCormick] told me she had finally sold everything and she was going to have another $1,400 for me," Wietor said. 

Wietor is disabled and does not drive. She uses an electric mobility scooter to get around. 

In the months that followed, Wietor said she called multiple times and got multiple excuses about why the checks were delayed.

"I realize things happen, but I've been very patient," Wietor said. "I contacted you out of desperation because I need help."

The LITL team was with Wietor when she rode her scooter into the consignment shop. Seconds after McCormick greeted us at the door, she was threatening to call the police and demanding us to turn off our camera.

We asked McCormick if she ever admitted to owing Wietor any money.  

"I do not admit anything to her, at all," she said. "I have sent her check after check."

We asked her if she had statements that she could provide -- something Wietor did not have. 

"I'm not providing you anything," she responded. "You guys need to get out of my store."

McCormick then stated that she would speak with Wietor, the client, without the LITL team being present. But, moments later, she was asking Wietor to leave the store and threatening her with arrest.

"[The police] can arrest me," Wietor said, still waiting just inside the store entrance.

Moments later, a Wilton Manors police officer arrived. He entered the store, spoke with McCormick and later asked Wietor to wait outside while he spoke with McCormick alone inside the store.  

Another officer showed up and entered the store. Minutes later, the first officer exited the store, only to escort Wietor back inside.

A few more minutes passed before both officers and Wietor were back out on the sidewalk. 

This time, Wietor had a number of papers in her hands -- statements detailing the sale of her items -- some of them dated back to 2016.

She also had a check in her hand for $1,133.75.

"It's a little shy, but I'm going to let it go," Wietor said. "Had you not been here, believe me, I wouldn't have gotten the check."

A closer look at the check revealed it was post-dated for two days.

Some sharp-eyed LITL viewers also noticed the amount written out on the line, was for $1,033.75, which was different from the $1,133.75 written in the box.

When Wietor went to the bank on March 28 to cash her check, she was told she'd have to return on Friday when the check was dated. She sent the LITL team a message Friday morning to say that her check cleared.

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