A road construction sign was hacked recently in Ruskin, flashing an obscene message to passing drivers.
The sign marked a road project on Boyette Road near Bell Shoals Road. It was supposed to alert drivers that lanes will be closed 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Sarah Carpenter saw that message as she drove home from the drive-in movie theater in Ruskin.
Her 11-year-old brother and 6-year-old son were in the car with her.
"We are driving and I look over and I have to do a double take,” Carpenter said. “I am like what does that say?"
The sight distracted her as she tried to merge into an open lane. Her brother sat in the passenger seat of her car.
"He's like, ‘Did that sign say what I think it says?’ And I have my 6-year-old in the back seat trying to sound it out," she said.
She quickly distracted her son.
Hillsborough County contracted this road project. A spokesperson says the signs are not their responsibility and directed me to Acme Barricades. No one for the company would go on camera, but a manager told me they have had vandalism problems on this project.
He told me hackers get into the computer at the sign and change it. In response the company changed the passwords and removed the keyboard.
Still, the sign control panel did not have a lock.
Carpenter said she is worried about taking that way again because of her 6-year-old son.
"Don't want to run into that when he can actually read," she said.