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Son's Death Shines Light On Lake Street

“We are just trying to save someone else from having an accident on this street.”

A Lake Elsinore mom whose son was killed on Lake Street this past spring made an emotional plea Tuesday night to City Council.

“It’s very hard for me to stand up here,” a tearful Annmarie Devaney told the Lake Elsinore council members. “Our son’s in heaven and I can’t bring him back. Please … put up lights.”

With more than 25 supporters in tow, including husband Chad, Devaney asked city council to make Lake Street safer by installing lights along the dark roadway.

On May 2 at approximately 10:10 p.m., as he rode his skateboard on Lake Street, about a half mile west of the 15 Freeway. 

“The driver of the vehicle was unable to slow…,” according to a Lake Elsinore Police Department report that was issued shortly following the tragic accident.

The driver, whose identity was withheld, “offered full cooperation with investigators and was later released from the police station,” the report stated.

Prior to Tuesday night’s meeting, Patch spoke with Annmarie. The heartbroken mom talked about her son’s community involvement, his high academic achievements -- and his zest for life.

Anthony was an honor student at the former Gordon Kiefer High School in Lake Elsinore and had gone on to Mt. San Jacinto Community College, Annmarie explained. He earned several scholarships as a result of his grades and community service, she added, noting that her son volunteered for activities like the Unity in Community Parade, church functions, and as an Explorer with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

He was also very athletic and had a great appreciation for Christian music that he expressed as a drummer, she said.

“He was so vibrant, so loving, so caring. He enjoyed every minute of life,” Annmarie explained. “I am so proud of my little man, my little hero.”

The driver who struck Anthony was a 17-year-old boy who the Devaney’s have opened their hearts to, Annmarie said.

“We offered to help him with counseling,” she explained, noting that the teen lost his own mother when he was just 6.

Currently, Anthony’s 6-year-old sister and his young niece are both in therapy to help them cope with the loss, Annmarie said.

“I have no more energy,” she continued, “but I can go out there and fight hard. I don’t want this to happen to another family.”

That’s the reason for Tuesday night’s showing, Chad said.

“We are just trying to save someone else from having an accident on this street,” he explained.

City council members sat quietly during Annmarie’s poignant plea, and afterward Mayor Brian Tisdale promised, “We hear you and we’re sorry for your loss. The city will do something about this.”

The audience applauded the mayor's words. 

With that, Councilmember Bob Magee -- who Annmarie said she contacted before the meeting -- told the Devaney’s Tuesday he had spoken with city staff and an “interim solution” had been discussed that he hoped would meet with the family’s approval.

The Devaney’s are now scheduled to speak with city officials to hear the details.

sam shepperd June 27, 2012 at 09:28 PM
"Jay walking"? That's a new one on me. I'd like to know your source. But it wouldn't surprise me if a usually inconsequential "crime" such as jaywalking becomes deadly when it happens in an unlit area where there's a blind rise (just east of the Mountain St. light) followed by that downhill dragstrip leading to the 15 onramp. I maintain that "Jaywalking" on a street adjacent with a park and Boys Club should not carry a death penalty ... if in fact jaywalking was a factor.
sam shepperd June 27, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I heard Anthony's mother voice her resolve that her son 'is in heaven' and that her concern here on Earth is that no other parents suffer her kind of senseless loss. That's all I'm driving at. And the city council did talk as though they were determined to attend to the situation. I also hope someone will investigation any liability the developer who promised local residents the sky to get them indebted to them before being bailed out by the same taxpayers they have failed to deliver promises on.
Family member June 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I would like to say that the Devaney family is not placing blame. They are looking for saftey and hoping that by installing street lights, it could possibly contribute to saving lives. Anthony is not the first person that has died on Lake Street. Others have too. How many more have to die for the city to do something?
Danielle Hall June 27, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I live in Alberhill Ranch and we were told and even shown pictures of what Lake Street was supposed to look like before Castle & Cooke decided not to fulfill their promises. It was supposed to be a total of four lanes with sidewalks and lighting not too mention a gorgeous center island with trees. But they bailed on not just the residents of Alberhill, but of the City of Lake Elsinore. A young man lost his life and I feel for his parents.
Anon June 28, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I drove past this incident right after it happened. It was drizzling and very dark. I agree we could use better lighting but why would someone be walking on Lake st, it only leads to the freeway. You can't walk on the freeway. I think sidewalks on Riverside and Machado are needed first.
sam shepperd June 28, 2012 at 01:09 AM
So now not only skateboarding, but walking on the street are crimes. I guess we all ought to get Hummers and a government paid stipend for gas so we aren't at the mercy of the iron battering rams rolling around on the roads. There's a park there, and a Boy's Club. Or maybe Anthony was just out there having some summer fun riding down the hill on his skateboard. In any case, being anywhere on or near that road is dangerous as it is. Driving over that rise north of the light at Mountain/Lake streets throws a real dangerous element into the mix of dangers. People race from Lakeshore towards the freeway to get first in line when the two lanes merge into one, by that time they're usually traveling well over the speed limit before cresting the hill. At that point they're hurtling downhill and getting the first glempse of what's down the road. With a sandy skidpad to right and double, double yellow to the left (not to mention opposing traffic), there's little room to maneuver or stop in case of a pedestrian, pet or other "obstacle". As for Riverside and Machado. They mostly have sidewalks already. If not, there's usually some kind of road or dirt shoulder for pedestrians to keep clear of cars. And the sheriff's patrol those streets more than Lake Street so drivers tend to watch their speed. I don't think anyone's said anything about 'walking on the freeway.' And even then, there have some tragic deaths from people trying to actually cross the 15 on foot lately locally.
sam shepperd June 28, 2012 at 01:13 AM
If there are any warning lessons I see from Anthony's death, it'd be not to go any around cars wearing those ear buds. You need to hear approaching danger and these things block external sounds even with volume off. A better alternative (if one needs to have their "sounds" outside, would be the over-the-ear headphones becoming more popular the last couple of years. They're making them more compact and dorky looking now. With those you hear your sounds and can also hear a good deal of ambient sound as well.
Anon June 28, 2012 at 01:29 AM
I walk on Machado and I have to walk in the street for at least a block. As far as lake st I do think lighting is needed, but sidewalks would be a stretch. The spot where this happened sort of leads to no where unless you are walking to Horsethief and that would be a pretty far walk. If residents are paying high mello Roos then then they need to have what they were promised.
sam shepperd June 28, 2012 at 01:55 AM
But you're a lot safer walking on Machado AG than Lake Street for reasons I mentioned in previous post. I bicycle and occasionally walk on Machado and never feel threatened by traffic. There's plenty of room to keep out of their way, with or without sidewalks. I really wouldn't walk or bike Lake Street unless I had some compelling reason. Maybe to a hardworking student on summer vacation, riding his skateboard down the hill on Lake Street was compelling. Maybe he looked over his shoulder and didn't see any cars coming. Maybe the driver of the car that hit him was tired too and driving too fast and not paying enough attention and just saw the skateboarder at the last moment. None of that stands to deligitimate the need to make the roads safe for drivers and pedestrians even if they aren't on their best game. Lake has been a killer for years and the half-arsled "improvements" (straightening the road and adding a two stop lights) only allowed traffic to drive faster, making the accidents that happen more deadly. What strikes me is the road bed seems raised above the pebbly shoulder, sending anyone who strays off road into a negative camber skid-pad hurtling with no control into who-knows-what. I think the city or county needs to hire a road safety consultant to look over the whole city to determine real priorities aimed at safety to all. I couldn't believe when the council started talking about first priority to fixing potholes on Summerhill. Maybe they all live up there.
Anon June 28, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Sam it is a sad story. I feel for his family. My point was why put in a sidewalk that leads to no where. I agree we need better lighting on Lake st. When I first moved here I was scared to drive Lake st. Who knows was he was thinking or doing out there at that time of night. Like I said, it was drizzing/sprinkling when it happened. It was pitch black in the section he was at.
sam shepperd June 28, 2012 at 03:19 AM
How many times do I have to remind you AG. Lake Street has the only Boys Club in the area. In fact, it's probably the only such after school place for youth in the area. It also has an adjacent park and, if the developer's feet are ever held to the fire, there will also be a school and shopping center. But for me, the Boy's Club alone is not "nowhere". When I was 14 my dad enrolled me in a couple of summer camps with Boys Clubs. It was two of the best weeks of my life. My dad could pay my way, but most of these kids were from the rough part of town and had their way paid by donations. Our counselor at Jenks Lake was a Navy aviator on leave from bombing the Ho Chi Minh trail. He sat in front of grocery stores asking for donations to pay these kids' way into camp. It was one of the most formtive times of my life. Not to think there is this deadly stretch of road separating Elsinore's own Boys Club from the whole of inhabited Lake Elsinore is a travesty. That one of Elsinore's most promising young men has been killed there in view of the road's safety inadequacies enrages me. We'll never know all the facts of the incident. But we do know far from all that could be done to make that road safe has been done.
Anon June 28, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Sam I am aware of where the boys and girls club is. This didn't happen by there. It happened closer to the freeway and it was after 10 at night so he wouldn't have been coming home from there. I do agree sidewalks are needed by the boys club but not by the freeway!
sam shepperd June 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
AG: I do have to admit ignorance as to specifically where the accident occured. But my comments for the stretch from Mountain to the park and Boys Club still stand for the reasons stated. I guess to continue specific discussion on this case you'll have to let me in on the secret as to where it occured. I'm pretty familiar with the area. Was it at the Coal street light? 100 more yards towards the freeway? halfway through the long left turn before the light at Temescal Canyon? Where? I do recall that before they straightened the road, there was that long right turn before the straight up climb to Mountain Street crossing. And right in the middle there was one light. And I recall passing several accidents there. One where a car had flipped upside down. Lighting does make a difference, especially on stretches like that where the road is enveloped on both sides by a canopy of tall eucalyptus trees that block out even the light from the moon and stars. That lower long left before Temescal Canyon is still pretty much like that. I did notice someone had trimmed the trees pretty severely. Maybe they realized the trees made for a darkened tunnel at night.
Anon June 28, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I can't explain where it was but let's just say halfway between the new stop light to Nichols and Temescal canyon. Lighting is def needed on Lake St.
Mr.A June 28, 2012 at 10:04 AM
Yeap, this city needs street lights, street bumps, and stop signs and other signs to slow these ediots that drive like they're on the freeway on residential streets..
jill smith June 28, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Mrs Devaney, I addressed you on the wrong post. What I wanted to say is, I was at the council meeting and I heard you speak, I am so sorry for your loss. Your bond with Anthony as you know is for eternity, and I am sure he is as proud of you, as you are of him. I wanted to say I admire your kindness and courage, and because of you the first words out of Mayor tisdale's mouth after you finished speaking were, "We are going to take care of this problem", and Mayor Maghee has a project in the works to adress the lighting, and as he said he would like you to" work with him on it", I hope it meets your approval. You have made a difference, and I believe lives will be saved because of your courage.
TRUTHBTOLD June 29, 2012 at 02:18 AM
This is an extremely sad accident and the loss to the family and friends is immeasurable. Lots of people are trying to blame the City and Castle and Cook for the unsafe conditions but the reality is, the victim and the driver are the ones that bear the blunt of the blame. Both are (were) young and inexperienced... the poor victim should have used more common sense to wear highly visible cloths and jump off the road when a car nears. The driver clearly drove too fast for the conditions and limited visibility and unless the victim "jumped" out in front of him, should have been able to stop in time. The City has very capable professionals that have studied the conditions on Lake St. for years. Adding more traffic "slowing" devices create there own set of problems which most people don't even consider. Castle and Cook will improve Lake St. when the required number of homes are sold and if you think the Mella Roos is high now, just imagine what it would be like if they had to make the improvements now without the house sales to support the tax. The $8M the City got for the boat dock came from grants and matching funds that can ONLY be used for that purpose...... the same as sidewalks earmarked from "Safe Routes to Schools" grants. The answer is "educating" the people of the hazards of Lake St. and law enforcement.
TRUTHBTOLD June 29, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Cops should be highly visible and regularly patrol Lake St., That's a great way of educating people. God bless you Ms. Devaney and may He bring you comfort and solace. Your son will not have lost his life in vain.
jill smith June 29, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Wow two mayors I need to get some sleep.
CAS June 29, 2012 at 06:56 AM
My heart goes out to the family :( my Son also lost a dear friend on Lake street when they were reconfiguring the road. Driving conditions were not safe. The construction left sand & rocks all over the roadway. In the rain, the car slid out of control around a corner. Gone at 20 years old, way too young....
sam shepperd June 29, 2012 at 07:52 AM
Elevated, single-lane, negative camber roadway, median that obscures but does not deflect errant traffic, with unlit, tree-shrouded turns and gravel skid pad as a "guardrail." Who designed this ride, Mister Toad's evil twin? https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=33.710918,-117.379904&spn=0.036699,0.063429&t=h&z=14&lci=com.panoramio.all
sam shepperd June 29, 2012 at 08:47 AM
Just drag the Google Maps Yellow Man onto the scene. https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=33.707714,-117.387494&spn=0.003244,0.003964&t=h&hnear=Lake+Elsinore,+Riverside,+California&z=18&layer=c&cbll=33.707807,-117.387428&panoid=5az7pgxYFzVRCxb-bKnqHw&cbp=12,45.71,,0,0 How long before one of those phone/power poles becomes the "guardrail."
sam shepperd June 29, 2012 at 06:12 PM
AG: According to your placement of the incident location, it's right about here:https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=33.718919,-117.388589&spn=0.002293,0.003964&t=h&hnear=Lake+Elsinore,+Riverside,+California&layer=c&cbll=33.718853,-117.388475&panoid=JaDdVOIZysj9liHuB_Y-jA&cbp=12,303.63,,0,2.27&z=18 That's where I saw a car setting on it's roof a few years ago. And that's where the trees are blocking moonlight most. And that's where some entity long ago placed the only lighting along the stretch - the 100 watt bulb illuminating the curve warning sign. Odd that this seems to be the only stretch without street lighting despite acknowledgement of the road's hazard by the long-time presence of the warning sign. I've always been on alert driving through there. Traffic coming downhill often still has speed picked up coming down the hill. Traffic going uphill is building up their speed to take the hill and the road has rises in it that add to bad visibility of oncoming traffic already compromised by the curve.
sam shepperd June 29, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Messed up the URL. Here it is: https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=33.718919,-117.388589&spn=0.002293,0.003964&t=h&hnear=Lake+Elsinore,+Riverside,+California&layer=c&cbll=33.718853,-117.388475&panoid=JaDdVOIZysj9liHuB_Y-jA&cbp=12,303.63,,0,2.27&z=18
Diana June 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM
It was my understanding that the $8M was suppose to be funded by RDA funds and only when the project ran short did they get grants to finish it? The City was also under the threat of losing these funds by Gov Brown, that is when City got up off of it and used it to build the low income apartments on Pottery and the boat dock. I may be wrong but the City sat on these millions of dollars for a long time before they used them and I may also be wrong but doesn't RDA stand for Redevelopment Funds? Why were these funds not used in prior years for sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, etc? I know that several people died at the boat launch prior to this project do to it being unsafe under prior City Council members that knew it was unsafe and did nothing about it until after the first death. It is how our City conducts business regarding safety issues, it takes a death or more and public outcry to get their attention. With the discontinued school bus service those in charge need to step it up and provide safe walking conditions for these kids that are now going to have to walk to school or unfortunately there will be more of the same when children have to walk in road ways to school.
Reverend Smith June 29, 2012 at 10:43 PM
http://youtu.be/k020_1epZNA Here's a video I just shot from my dash goring down Lake Street. Note I let a tailgating pickup go by (with dealer plates) and he immediately speeds to hug the bumper of the next car. This is typical. I drive off the road and hit the brakes to get a sense of the skidding properties of the dirt shoulder. Hard to see, but a dark car makes an illegal U-turn from Coal onto Lake then doubling back to Coal. First street light after coal is where you see the back of the Alberhill Ranch sales sign on the left. No street lighting until between next Alberhill Ranch signs - backs of signs visible on the left. At the 3:47 mark, there's a cross marker on the right shoulder. Don't know which fatality this is in memory of. The cross marks the start of street lighting again. Looks a lot like what they call "tombstone imperative" in the airline industry. Or should I say ABOUT the airline industry, since the industry denies it's practiced. What it denotes is that safety measures are only employed after a massive loss of life makes not employing increased safety would draw economically damaging attention to the airline industry or a specific airline. After those three street lights, the treelined road is once plunged into darkness. Street lighting picks up again at the last Alberhill sales sigh (other side of road - back of sign this way). Lighting continues to freeway.
TRUTHBTOLD July 01, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Diana- $3.5M came from a state grant with the qualification that the City match it... which they did with RDA funds.... the rest of the money came various other sources including money that was supposed to go to the incubator..... remember that fiasco? It's interesting how these grants are so tempting but require City participation. Sometimes not the best decisions are made when there's a feebee on the table.
RED July 03, 2012 at 01:44 AM
First and for most there was another tragic accident a family lost a son .A young man must live the rest of his life with the image of that loss .I have lived in Lake Elsinore for 24 years be leave it or not Lake street was worse . Not one of you were there to know what truly happened that night stop the blame game . There have been too many lives lost on that street .Stop the blaming of either of those boys one lost his life the other seen that life leave this earth may God be with all . The problem needs to be fixed as it should have years ago.
Cat July 03, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Thank you Rev. Smith for posting that video. It certainly brings this story into a better perspective for those of us that don't live in the area.
sam shepperd July 03, 2012 at 03:16 AM
I'd only add to observe the hundred or so lights illuminating the (usually empty) parking lot for the Alberhill park. 1/10 of those lights, relocated to the power poles along Lake Street would be sufficient to fill the gaps in the lighting along Lake Street. There goes the "electricity saving" excuse,

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