Calhoun County Road Dept. says snow to blame for damage to mailboxes, homeowners disagree

Posted at 8:05 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 20:05:32-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Several mailboxes were knocked over on M-89 on Monday when a plow truck passed by. Tom Cross said his was one of them. And he's tired of it.

“I’ve replaced probably three mailboxes within the last couple of years,” said Cross during an interview in his front yard. “It’s, it's extremely frustrating. “

A Battle Creek resident captured it on video and posted it online. It’s been viewed hundreds of times, even by a few people at the Calhoun County Road Department.

“When I first saw the video I didn’t see anything alarming that made me think the driver was going too fast or too far over,” said Douglas Steffen, director of operations with the department. “What happened in this case is the force of that snow was really wet, really heavy and it impacts the mailbox and just takes it right off the post.”

Steffen said the driver that day is one of their best and was simply doing his job. He was clearing the road of snow and his plow did not make contact with any of the mailboxes. They even checked his speed on their GPS and saw that he drove 29 mph, which is within the 25-to-30 mph plow truck rule set by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“The driver’s watching traffic. He’s watching his speed. His watching his blades. He’s looking at his surroundings,” said Steffen during an interview at the department. “These trucks are very large and they’re very skilled people. There’s a lot of things going on at the time but we didn’t see any wrongdoing on the part of the driver.”

Steffen said every fall the department sends out a press release for “Shake Your Mailbox Day” to remind residents to check the security of their mailboxes. Cross said he's done this but it doesn't matter. He put up his newest mailbox two months ago and it was still knocked off on Monday. He immediately called the county.

“They said if the snow plow actually hits it they’ll replace it,” said Cross. “But because of the force of the snow, they’re not going to replace it.”

Cross said he’s going to put another one up and that it’ll probably cost around $70. This time, he’s going to give it a shield to protect it.

“I’m going to put up some wood to block the force of the snow which is going to cost me more,” said Cross.