It is a notorious stretch of road where street racers hit ‘terrifying’ speeds at 1am in the morning – frightening residents into selling their homes.
There has also been two fatalities on Midland Road in the past four years, involving two cyclists, although only one – the death of Nicholas Harrison in 2017 – has been linked to speeding.
Around the corner on a road called The Green, in Darlaston Green, a car crashed through the front room of a family’s home in March 2020.
It is not clear what caused the crash but the homeowners say they have not heard back from West Midlands Police since then.
More minor crashes are a regular occurrence, claimed Cllr Douglas James, such as speeding cars crashing into fence panels and going straight over the traffic island in Darlaston Green, which is a junction for Midland Road.
He has accused the authorities, such as Walsall Council and West Midlands Police, of neglecting the issue and “putting fingers in their ears”.
Describing the speeding issue, he said cars exit the Black Country Route less than a mile away and race down Midland Road, which spans in a straight line for half a mile, and hit speeds of up to 80 miles-per-hour (mph) between 1am and 3am, when people are usually sleeping.
Residents living on The Green, which joins Midland Road at the road traffic island on Darlaston Green, are also directly affected by the speeding.
“It is a race track for one mile and a half,” said independent Cllr James who represents the Darlaston South ward.
“They are doing two laps, coming around the roundabout (in Darlaston Green) and speeding off.
“Speeds over 80mph have been recorded.
“For far too long, people in this area have been living in fear of the racers.
“People are wanting to sell their homes. There are two on the market, householders are fed up of living in fear.
“It is only a matter of time before there are more fatalities.”
Midland Road has become a “hotspot” for speeding since the four Black Country councils – Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton – obtained a region-wide injunction against car cruising in 2014, said Cllr James. During a court hearing in 2018, the injunction was extended to 2021.
Cllr James says he supports the injunction but is calling for high-tech cameras to be installed around Midland Road to catch “people’s faces and registration plates”.
He said Midland Road was one of three speeding hotspots in Darlaston, along with Wolverhampton Street and Dangerfield Lane – the latter where residents have petitioned Walsall Council for more safety measures.
Among the residents affected by the speeding on Midland Road is Trish Butler, aged 67, who lives at a house on The Green, overlooking the traffic island which Midland Road joins in Darlaston Green.
A road sign outside her home has been left bent and crooked, which is thought to have been caused by the impact of a speeding car.
She told Black Country Live: “It is terrible. There are accidents nearly every week.
“I have lived here for 32 years. I sleep in the front bedroom. I hear brakes and tyres screeching and wait for the bang.
“People are wanting to leave their houses. It is frightening.”
She recalled one car “losing control” and hitting a set of bollards while another was “speeding so fast at 4am” that they lost control and went over the traffic island.
Her neighbour Sarabjit Singh, 32, who lives at home with his family, said: “The speeding is bad. So many times, we see so many cars finish on the roundabout.
“When they are turning, they are turning so fast they break some of the fences (nearby) as well. Putting a camera there would be helpful for us. At night time, we can hear the screeching.”
A little further down The Green, Rachel Reid and her family have witnessed two crashes at their home.
The worst happened in March 2020 when a car crashed into their front room where the kitchen is.
There is no suggestion that speeding was the cause. But Mrs Reid, a mother-of-three, said speeding was a problem in the area and she has considered relocating.
The other crash took place in May this year, when a car crashed into a bus stop outside her home. It is believed the bus stop saved the vehicle from hitting her house, although there is no suggestion that the vehicle was speeding either.
She said: “We don’t rest very well at the night time.
“It has happened twice. (One) went into our kitchen and about a year later, it knocked (over) the whole bus stop.
“It was 3am (in March last year), we got woken up to a smash and the car had actually been in the kitchen.
“Literally the whole of my bay window had gone.
“We lived with a cardboard kitchen for six months because it happened and then a week later coronavirus hit and we went into lockdown.
“It happened in the March, we didn’t have that back (a repaired kitchen and outside window to the house) until September.
“The person who drove into our house left the scene but handed himself in a few days later but we haven’t heard anything since.”
She added: “We are on edge now. If you hear squeaking of brakes, you panic. We have talked about selling because, well, I love my house but I just don’t like the road.
“What they do, they night cruise, they race around this corner.”
One incident of speeding on Midland Road left a cyclist dead.
Nicholas Harrison was riding home from a night shift on November 22, 2017, when he was struck by Kade Scrivens just after 3am.
Scrivens, of Booth Street, Handsworth, was speeding in his BMW 116i M Sport before he lost control, veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided with Mr Harrison.
At the time, Mr Harrison, 59, was wearing high-visibility clothing and flashing lights and he was riding in a cycle lane.
Scrivens drove off from the scene, making the incident a hit-and-run, leaving the critically injured Mr Harrison in the road.
He was found by a passer-by who contacted the emergency services, but they could do nothing to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene, having suffered multiple injuries.
With no witnesses, Scriven evaded the police for two days before handing himself in.
Scriven eventually pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at court and was jailed for seven-and-a-half years in 2018.
Cllr James highlighted the spot where Mr Harrison had been struck on Midland Road, pointing out that a section of a wooden safety barrier which was damaged in the collision has not been replaced four years later.
Meanwhile, Florentine Chinanga-Chou, 19, died after he was hit by a Vauxhall Corsa on Midland Road on Friday, November 27.
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