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|FIRST ON WGIL: Mayor Named in Police Report Over Road Construction Dispute -- Mayor Talks Exclusively to WGIL
|FIRST REPORTED 3:00pm 8/26/09 A local construction project is apparently causing motorists and workers headaches, including Galesburg's top elected official.
A Galesburg police report, obtained by WGIL through a Freedom of Information Act request, says a worker who was flagging traffic Tuesday morning at Carl Sandburg Drive and Broad Street accused Mayor Sal Garza of being verbally abusive.
Police were called to the intersection shortly after 8am to in response to heavy traffic congestion, reportedly by Garza. The report says officers were told while they were en route that Garza allegedly had contact with the flagger, who was accused of being unable to handle the task of routing traffic, and of rude behavior.
The flagger reportedly told police she was attempting to route traffic around the work at the scene, which had been reduced to a single lane because Costa Drive was being blacktopped and parents were dropping students off at Costa School.
In an exclusive interview, Garza tells WGIL he agrees he was frustrated, but because it was a potentially dangerous situation. "I was concerned for the safety of the kids," Garza said. "I think the drivers -- they knew that it was one way, and they were just -- I think -- disagreeable or not agreeable with wanting to take that route."
Officers remained at the scene and determined the flagger was performing her task in "a reasonable manner."
A witness told police a number of people were yelling at the flagger, but Garza got out of his vehicle and approached her. The witness says Garza was yelling and screaming and waving his arms.
Garza, who says he left the scene "thoroughly frustrated," claims he was only using his arms to show where other possible routes could be, and said he only raised his voice because it was a construction site, and an elevated voice was needed.
The project was supposed to be complete Wednesday.
|08 27 09 by Newsroom
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