Police conduct campaign to stop aggressive drivers

Three-week effort yielded 146 arrests, nearly 3,500 tickets

Anne Arundel

October 09, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

The drivers of a Subaru Impreza and a Chevrolet Impala darted in and out of rush-hour traffic on Route 32 in Gambrills at raceway speeds.

When the Subaru driver slammed on his brakes, his vehicle spun out of control and smashed into a Mazda 626, killing him and the Mazda's passenger.

Authorities said the accident Tuesday morning underscores the perils of aggressive driving, which they said is a growing problem in the county.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department recently completed an extensive campaign during which officers issued nearly 3,500 tickets and made 146 arrests.

Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan said he initiated the campaign because anyone who drives the major thoroughfares in the county sees acts of aggressive driving every day.

"You'll be going along Route 10, maybe doing 60 in a 55 [mph zone], and someone comes along going so fast that it literally makes you feel like you're standing still," he said. "It looks like, at times, a raceway out there."

From Aug. 24 to Sept. 18, county officers swarmed Routes 32, 10 and 100; Interstate 97; and U.S. 50 in an effort to catch aggressive drivers and slow traffic. The campaign was funded in part by State Highway Administration grants.

Officers stopped nearly 7,000 drivers, issuing tickets to about half and written citations to the other half. They also made 29 arrests for driving under the influence, 74 traffic-related arrests and 43 criminal arrests.

It was hard not to notice the campaign, said Lt. Keith Williams, commander of the traffic safety section, because the department asked the State Highway Administration to place "aggressive driving laws enforced" signs along the major roads and used its helicopter for several traffic operations.

"We had a huge response [in] that people knew we were out there and knew what we were doing," Williams said.

It worked, Shanahan said. Officers noticed that drivers had slowed considerably by the end of the campaign, he said.

Maryland State Police continue to search for the driver of the Chevrolet Impala that cut off the Subaru Impreza, driven by Christopher S. Browning, 24, of Gambrills.

Browning was killed in the accident, as was a passenger in the Mazda, Jose C. Jarmillo-Arroyo, 18, of Columbia.

The Mazda's driver, Cristobal C. Sanchez, 28, also of Columbia was in fair condition last night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call the Glen Burnie state police barracks at 410-761-5130.

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