STEUBENVILLE — A not so funny thing happened to two men on their way to the former city salt storage lot on University Boulevard.
Joseph Berryman, 50, of Colliers drove his vehicle and attached trailer loaded with old tires past the City Building where City Manager Bruce Williams and several department heads were standing prior to attending a City Council meeting.
“Look at that,” Williams said. “I’ll bet they are going to dump those tires at our old salt storage lot.”
“If they don’t make a right turn at the Market Street Bridge, I’m going to follow them,” Williams declared.
Berryman and his passenger, 56-year old Eugene Walker Sr. of Steubenville didn’t make the turn and Williams didn’t hesitate to jump into his personal car, make a U-turn and head north on Third Street.
A few minutes later, Williams called one of his city staff employees to report the two men had parked in the Convenient Food Mart parking lot on University Boulevard.
“They are retying the ropes holding down the tires. I think they know I am watching them,” Williams reported.
The city manager returned to the city building and sent Street and Sanitation Superintendent Joe DeSantis and a police officer back to the former city property on University Boulevard to look for the men and the tires.
Williams sat down in a council service committee meeting but soon left again when he received a cell phone call.
He returned approximately 15 minutes later to announce, “we got them. We have been trying to catch someone dumping tires at that property and now we have these two guys.”
According to DeSantis, “we went up Franklin Avenue and saw the two guys pulling out of the former salt storage lot and their trailer was empty. We stopped them and they told us a city employee had said it was okay to dump tires there.”
Berryman and Walker were cited by city police for littering.
“We have been working to clean that lot up because it no longer belongs to us. We have a limited window of opportunity to clean up that lot and hand it over to Franciscan University of Steubenville. We can’t allow people to drop tires off there illegally,” DeSantis explained.
“The Keep Jefferson County Beautiful office has held tire collections and that is the proper way to dispose of old tires,” added DeSantis.
After they were issued the littering citations, Berryman and Walker were ordered to pick up their tires and put them back on their trailer.
“I wanted them to pick all their tires back up and take them home,” said Williams.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)