Tuesday, August 10, 2021

After Fatal Crash, Pottstown Decries Speeding

Image from screenshot
A photo shows the scene after a fatal accident on Queen Street on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

In the wake of the death of a 35-year-old single mother last week in a speeding-related crash on Queen Street, Pottstown residents have had enough.

Nicole Benzenhafer, of Lower Pottsgrove was pronounced dead at 11:24 p.m. Tuesday at Reading Hospital as a result of injuries from the crash near the corner of Madison and Queen streets.

The preliminary crash report from police indicated witnesses said the driver of the vehicle that struck Benzenhafer's vehicle was driving recklessly throughout the borough, blowing through multiple stop signs.

Pottstown Police Chief Mick Markovich said Monday morning that the investigation is being handled by the Montgomery County District Attorney's office and even the name of the driver has not yet been released.

But the problem is bigger than just one driver, residents told borough council Monday night. 

A change.org petition posted on the Eye on Pottstown Facebook page had attracted 995 signatures as of Monday night

The petition reads, in part, "Enough is enough -- something needs to be done. To those who sign the petition, let this be a promise to abide by the rules of the road to help ensure safety on our streets. To those government officials with the power to make change --  LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE OF POTTSTOWN AND TAKE ACTION. MAKE OUR STREETS SAFE."

Jason Morris, who runs the Eye on Pottstown page, told council that when he bikes around town, drivers use the bikes lanes as turning lanes "and cuss you out when you're in their way."

"Everyone behaves like its a free-for-all" on borough roads, said Morris. "You're in your backyard, it's 10 p.m. at night, all you hear is motorcycles revving, tires squealing and people racing."

Darlene Bainbridge, who said she lives and works in town, said people speed on York Street all the time and recently, someone tailgated her, then passed her on the one-way street, when she was doing the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit.

Lots of people ignore stop sign at East and Hanover streets. "Nobody stops there," she said, saying "i saw someone the other day just blow through it at full speed."

Elizabeth Devenny said she worries about the safety of her two-year-old, who she described as "an escape artist."

She told council, "I knew parenting would be difficult, but I did not think my kid would be hit by a car. I love supporting businesses on High Street, but I'm afraid to cross High Street with my kid,"

Ron Williams said there is a speeding problem on Walnut Street between Charlotte and North Hanover streets as well. "I run out but they go too fast to get their license plate numbers."

Jenifer Green, who is the Republican candidate for council against incumbent Democrat Dan Weand, said people regularly drive at 55 miles per hour on Franklin Street.

Some of them hit 60 "with mufflers jacked up making all kinds of noise. I've been complaining about this for 19 years."

Weand immediately responded that "I've already spoken with the borough manager about adding speed humps to that area and that's just the beginning."

At the end of the meeting, he said "I live on the 'North Evans Street Speedway.' Everyone finishes their drag race from Redner's at my house. I know what you are talking about."

Weand said he has been in conversation with officials in Jenkintown borough, which has lots of "speed humps," which has done "quite a bit to quiet their traffic. We need 2 implement this as soon as possible."

He was not the only member of council to weigh in. 

Mayor Stephanie Henrick said she has had two back surgeries which were the result of an accident she had on Wilson Street when "someone ran a stop sign."

In the wake the recent fatal accident, "the police department is definitely paying attention and the amount of citations has gone up tremendously."

Councilwoman Lisa Vanni said speeding and reckless driving "is becoming an increasingly dangerous issue."


  1. Speeding is HORRIBLE on the 400 block of Walnut Street! As a homeowner, I would gladly welcome speed bumps!

  2. Speeding is increasing worse on the 800 block and out N Hanover St; we seriously need a sped trap to remind people of the limit

  3. We have been complaining about it for years. It's an issue on York street for sure where there is no stop sign at the intersection with chestnut, people take that as an invitation to see how fast they can go in two blocks.

    1. The 700 block of High Street by the post office is a drag strip all day and all night

  4. Speeding is ridiculous on N Evans as well as Franklin by the schools. Also,alot of people California stop at Wilson and Franklin.

  5. I reached out over multiple years to Dan Weand, Chief Drumheller, and Chief Markovich about the incessant speeding on Mervine Street. Weand was very unresponsive, only encouraging me to come to Council meetings. The police chiefs responded and intermittently set up a digital speed limit sign for a week or two. But I was told by Drumheller that there was no speeding issue on Mervine; Markovich said he is disinclined to put in speed bumps. In the end, I only felt like they were placating me for a bit.

  6. New street needs some speeding bumps. Way to many children live on this street. Residents that live on this street speed by here daily. Please help New street.

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  8. The day prior to this A car crashed into a home on Oak street leaving a family homeless