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Eureka, CA — A regional California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) manager and his staff are under fire for a controversial sign the team posted on a stretch of highway 101 outside Eureka, California, over the weekend. The speed alert sign, which was appended with what some call an offensive message targeting Toyota Priuses and Ford vehicles, urged drivers of those respective cars to “Please Try To Do Your Best” to keep up with traffic.

“We are taking what appears to be a joke gone awry very seriously,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty during a press conference on Wednesday. “We have since removed the sign and put the manager on leave while we perform a thorough investigation on why Prius and Ford vehicles can’t seem to meet the 50 miles per hour speed limit.”

According to drivers in the Eureka/Arcata area, the sign appeared late Friday night, which caused a flood of voice mail and email complaints to the Caltrans district office in Eureka.


long-time Arcata, CA resident and Prius driver 'Peace Witherspoon' snapped this picture of the controversial sign before it was removed earlier this week.
Long-time Arcata, CA resident and Prius driver ‘Peace Witherspoon’ snapped this picture of the controversial sign before it was removed earlier this week.

“Well, yeah, man,” said long-time Arcata resident ‘Peace Witherspoon.’ “I mean, why be harshing on me and my Prius, man? So what if I drive real slow. I drive slow everywhere. What’s the hurry, anyway? Like, we all need to slow down and smell the roses, and you know like, you know? All this redneck shit is messing with my buzz.”

This isn’t the first time Caltrans has been in hot water in Humboldt County. In the early 1990s, a rogue employee changed all the McKinleyville Town limit signs to Oklahoma City. In the early 2000s, the department was in trouble for placing radiation warning placards outside Arcata telling people not to come within 1000 yards of its famous downtown plaza. Neither prank resulted in disciplinary actions.

As for the fate of the Caltrans employees, Director Dougherty says that once they figure out what’s slowing down Hybrid and Ford cars, the four men and one woman will be re-instated.

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