Minnesota State Patrol has sights set on 'Super Speeders'

 

As the weather heats up, drivers tend to put their lead foot on the pedal. Last year, Minnesota state troopers stopped more than two dozen drivers going more than 120 miles per hour. The worst offenders were young men. The top speed: 157 miles per hour. Minnesota Department of Transportation cameras captured exotic sports cars speeding on Interstate 394, even passing school buses. A state trooper clocked the group over 100 miles an hour. “The problem I have is when you get out onto a busy congested highway and start driving like that, putting other people at risk, somebody is going to die, and I don’t want to see that happen,” said the trooper to one of the drivers in dashcam footage. That was 2016, and drivers have not slowed down. “Holy buckets man, you were cruising. Did you see how fast you were going?” said a trooper to a driver going 137 miles per hour. From drivers without a license, to those under the influence going excessive speeds, state troopers have seen it all. “These are high rates of speed. Dangerous, dangerous rates of speed,” said Lt. Paul Stricker said. He has pulled over his fair share of so-called “super speeders.” “Somebody that’s traveling much faster than the general flow of traffic. Somebody that’s going to endanger other motorists that are out there. Traveling too fast, coming up on cars fast behind them, weaving in and out of lanes,” Stricker said. He sees speeders all over the metro. It is more common when there are multiple lanes, on loops like I-494 and I-694, and main interstates like I-35W. There a super speeder is typically a driver going above 70. Hundreds across the state topped 90 in 2017, with 30 offenders pulled over for going 120 plus. The most egregious stop of the year was a 34-year-old man going 157 in a 55 mile-an-hour zone. And those were the cars state troopers caught up with. Some try to offer an excuse. “We’ll hear everything from, ‘I’m late for a meeting,’ ‘I wasn’t paying attention,’ ‘I have to go to the bathroom,’” Stricker said. While WCCO was riding along, Stricker caught a driver weaving in and out of traffic, and witnessed other cars putting on the brakes. “Kind of went a little fast coming in and he caught me. Wasn’t trying to deny it, and I should have not been doing that,” said driver Grant Wenkstern. “I think most people realize how fast they’re going, just hoping to get away with it,” Stricker said. “Some of them you have to laugh at. I’ve told people ‘I’ve heard that one.’” But when it comes down to it, it is no laughing matter. The state patrol wants drivers to realize speed can be deadly. It was a factor in 88 fatal crashes last year. Troopers on the move use built-in radar to capture how fast a driver is going. Along the highway, they use a handheld radar to nab a car’s speed. “We’re here to change driving behavior to make it safe for everybody on the road,” Stricker said. At the end of the day, they want drivers to follow the posted speed. Exceeding it can be costly. “Our ultimate goal is for people to get home we want them to get to their destination safely,” Stricker said. We are in a stretch of what law enforcement calls the “100 deadliest days on the road.” It runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is extra enforcement on the road. Speeding tickets vary by county, but the cost is typically $110 for going 10 miles over the limit. Fines double at 20 miles over. Drivers can lose their license for six months if they are caught driving 100 miles per hour or higher.

8/2/18

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