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Calls For Change After I-30 Fireworks Fiasco

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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DALLAS (CBS 11 News) – The fireworks at Dallas Fair Park prompted an unusual an unnecessary slowdown of traffic along nearby Interstate-30 on Wednesday.

Traffic was literally stopped from 2nd Avenue to several blocks west.

There was the mixing of “aahs” and “ooohs” with lots of “boos” from unhappy drivers trying to get through the gridlock.

“I think it’s a little nuts to pull over in traffic to look at fireworks,” motorist Don Koller said. “To just pull over in the middle of traffic because you just can’t resist to look at those colorful lights seems kind of stupid to me.”

Koller, who is managing editor of the People Newspaper chain, was trying to get his family home from Ellis County when rubbernecking drivers brought their car to a halt.

“People were pulling off onto the shoulder. People were stopping on the side of the ramps leading up to Central Expressway.”

It wasn’t only Koller frustrated by the congestion, CBS 11’s Jay Gormley was also caught in the traffic and he said some people even stopped, rolled down their windows, and turned up their radios to be entertained.

Amazingly, neither Dallas police nor Dallas Fire Rescue report any calls for service being held up.

“We are working on ways to address this issue. We have not been made aware of any emergency vehicles being impacted by the traffic on I-30,” police spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell said in an e-mail.

No one with DPD would go on-camera with CBS 11.

In a later e-mail, assistant police chief Tom Lawrence said it is illegal to stop and watch; it can cause accidents and injuries, and he hinted the department would address the problem.

“We believe increased presence along the freeway by marked vehicles as well as public education will help lessen the likelihood of a repeat of the same type of behavior,” he said.

Koller, though, thinks people should just use basic common sense.

“You’ve seen one fireworks show you’ve seen them all. None are worth risking life and limb and especially risking other peoples’ lives.”

CBS 11 News also tried to get comments from the chair of the Dallas City Council’s Public Safety Committee, but Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano was unable to make a scheduled interview late Thursday and so far hasn’t returned calls seeking comment.

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