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‘Welcome to Glendale’ sign knocked down during car crash — again

‘Welcome to Glendale’ sign knocked down during car crash — again
The "Welcome to Glendale" sign, located on Foothill Boulevard near Lowell Avenue, was hit by a minivan around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, toppling it over for a third time. (Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

The third time wasn’t the charm for a concrete signed engraved with “Welcome to Glendale” in the northern part of the city as it was recently struck again by a motorist.

The sign, located on Foothill Boulevard near Lowell Avenue, was hit by a minivan around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, toppling it over for a third time. The crash resulted in the vehicle turning on its side, but the driver was unharmed.

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Sgt. Dan Suttles, a spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, said the driver told officers he swerved into the sign to avoid colliding with another car. However, officers suspected the man was lying and thought he was driving under the influence of alcohol.

“They did some field-sobriety tests, and he was arrested for DUI,” Suttles said.

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He was identified as 48-year-old Mario Ramirez of Los Angeles.

Since being installed last November, the sign has been struck two other times.

The first incident occurred about a month after the sign was erected in an alleged hit-and-run crash, where the driver fled from the vehicle after the sign was knocked down. The second collision was in May after the driver made an unsafe lane change right into the marker.

Another “Welcome to Glendale” sign installed at the same time on Foothill near Pennsylvania Avenue has never been struck by a vehicle, authorities said.

The two signs have been controversial since they were first announced by the city in 2016. Opponents argued that any welcome sign should reflect the La Crescenta or Crescenta Highlands community and a pair of online petitions arguing for their change or removal garnered roughly 1,500 signatures.

Harry Leon, president of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, said last year the markers were a safety risk because of their locations on a busy street and relatively small size.

Dan Bell, a city spokesman, said traffic studies conducted before the signs were erected found the areas were “viable.” And, in the wake of the first two collisions, the city painted additional safety stripes around the signs and installed reflective pavement markers.

“Any preventative measures that you put in … accidents are going to happen whether they’re there or not,” he said.

Bell also said officials with the city’s public works department are considering what to do next with the signs but did not specify what the options might be.

Bell said that, while the two signs originally cost $80,000 to install, he could not say how much it cost to repair the Lowell Avenue marker from the previous crashes. No repair estimate was available for the third crash.

Bell added that the city used legal means against the drivers in the previous two crashes to try to recoup the money, and he thinks the same will be done with Ramirez.

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