Police catch dozens speeding

Crackdown targets drivers using secondary roads as shortcuts

June 30, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A two-week crackdown on speeders along Carroll's secondary roads ended yesterday, with police issuing costly tickets to dozens of hurried commuters, many of them seeking shortcuts to avoid the county's congested roads.

Sponsored by the Carroll Resources to Advance Safer Highways Coalition (CRASH), police officers and county sheriff's deputies worked overtime to slow traffic on roads often used by pedestrians, bikers and children. The officers covered 940 miles of county-maintained roads.

CRASH paid for the overtime with federal highway grants extended to the State Highway Administration for law enforcement, said Dave Buck, SHA spokesman.

More than $1 million has been divided among the state's 23 counties and Baltimore City, but each jurisdiction determines how to spend its share, Buck said.

Baltimore County has earmarked its share of grant money for traffic enforcement, training, the Safe and Sober Expo, and Students Against Destructive Decisions, a police spokesman said. Carroll's coalition of about 40 government, community, education and law enforcement members chose speed enforcement as its target this year, said Barbara Rogers, of the county Health Department.

On a recent morning, Tfc. Richard Wolfe and Tfc. Steve Spoonire from the Westminster barracks concentrated on two roads where residents have frequently complained about excessive speeding.

Within two hours, Wolfe and Spoonire had issued tickets to 18 motorists, most of them from Pennsylvania.

Wolfe parked his black, unmarked patrol cruiser facing north along Old Hanover Road at Silver Run Valley Road. A radar device, about the size of a large can of frozen orange juice, hung from the right rear door window on his patrol cruiser.

Within seconds, Wolfe's digital radar monitor picked up a vehicle traveling 62 mph in a posted 40-mph zone. The trooper waved over the driver, a 33-year-old woman from McSherrystown, Pa. She was given a $135 ticket for exceeding the limit by more than 20 mph. and a $25 citation for not wearing a seat belt.

Chris Letnaunchyn, a county roads traffic engineer, said Old Hanover Road is one of the county's busiest, handling a daily average of 2,684 vehicles north of the intersection with Silver Run Valley Road.

None of the 11 drivers Wolfe stopped exceeded 62 mph, but none was driving under 56 mph.

He issued five more tickets for seat belt violations, including one to a 23-year-old Hanover, Pa., man who was a passenger in a construction truck.

Within 300 yards of where Wolfe set up his radar unit are five driveways.

"It's no wonder the residents complain," he said. "They can't get out of their driveways safely when cars are whizzing by at 15 to 20 mph over the limit."

It was much the same for Spoonire.

He monitored Trevanion Road, southwest of Taneytown, where the posted speed limit also is 40 mph.

Commuters use it to travel south from Taneytown. An average 1,834 vehicles use Trevanion Road daily, Letnaunchyn said.

Spoonire issued seven speeding tickets, one for a seat belt violation and one for a registration violation.

Elsewhere that day, deputies from the county sheriff's office were enforcing the speed limit on Klee Mill Road in Eldersburg, where motorists cut through residential areas to avoid shopping center congestion.

Seven $135 citations and three $70 citations were issued, and six motorists received warnings, said Lt. Chuck Paulsen of the sheriff's office.

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