PAYETTE COUNTY -- Neighbors near New Plymouth are up in arms, claiming that action by the county might have saved the lives of two young men killed in an accident on Saturday. County officials say they can only do so much and that unsafe driving is most likely the cause of the crash.
Two 15-year-olds, Jackson Sternberg and Dustin Williamson, were killed when Sternberg lost control of his truck and hit two trees on a rural road Saturday night.
On Monday, Heath Eells and John Cushman, both juniors at New Plymouth High School, came to the makeshift memorial that marks the accident scene where two of their school mates died Saturday.
Neighbors and witnesses say the teens were likely trying to ramp off a steep part of the road. It's something that Eells and Cushman say they've stopped doing, but is still common.
"We've hit this, kind of makes us realize the stupidity of it," said Eells. "We were jumping and we got in a wreck, so that made me stop.
"But people do it all the time, constantly," said Cushman.
While deputies haven't released the full cause of the crash, they will say that speed was a factor.
"I've seen hundreds of kids jump here," said Lance Hoch.
Hoch lives near the accident scene and says he often sees vehicles go 60 to 80 mph and ramp off that stretch of road.
"They'll hit that jump and come at least 6 to 8 feet in the air vertically," said Hoch. "Then, linearly, up the road, clear to where that car is, through the intersection, before they land, over 150 feet."
On behalf of all his neighbors, he's been lobbying Payette County to put in a stop sign as a deterrent.
"If this stop sign would've been put in in 2008, in my humble opinion, these two boys wouldn't be dead," said Hoch.
He says commissioners have told him that cars might not be able to start or stop at the steep incline if a stop sign was put in there. That reason was not good enough for Hoch, who believes cars could handle it.
Payette County Sheriff Chad Huff responded, "Stop signs are not meant to regulate speed."
The sheriff says the road is safe if you're going the speed limit of 35 mph.
"The plain and simple truth is, if people are going 35 miles per hour, there shouldn't be an issue with the hump in the road right there," said Huff.
Huff adds that it's ultimately up to drivers to stop jumping their vehicles. Heath and John hope that might be one good thing to come from this tragedy, but it might not.
"Hopefully, they don't forget about it within two months or whatever, and come out here and keep jumping," said Eells.
But Cushman added, "They will forget, though."
Many students at New Plymouth High School were wearing red Monday as a show of respect for the teens who lost their lives. There were also extra counselors and clergy on hand to help them deal with the tragedy.