State: Police out in force July 17-23 to prevent traffic fatalities

AHP campaign to prevent fatalities

Law enforcement across Alabama and the Southeast will be out in July 17-23 as part of a special traffic campaign to reduce the number of crashes by enforcing basic highway safety laws. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is teaming up with authorities for Operation Southern Shield — a joint effort between five Southern states— to crack down on motorists who ignore the major factors in automobile crashes and deaths – speeding, impaired and distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt, according to an Alabama State Trooper press release.  The campaign is sandwiched between other major highway safety campaigns and is being conducted in response to the high volume of traffic with summer traveling and vacations.  The campaign’s goal is to achieve a period of zero fatalities.  “Summer is a time when families come together for fun, not funerals, and Gov. Ivey’s goal is to increase safety on Alabama’s highways,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.  “Gov. Ivey and ADECA wholeheartedly endorse this effort and urge drivers to at all times to slow down, wear your seat belts and pay attention to the road.”  ADECA’s Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division is working with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and police and sheriffs’ departments throughout the state to step up efforts to provide high-visibility of law enforcement and take unsafe drivers off the road.  ADECA administers grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that pays overtime for officers to conduct extra patrols during special campaigns like Operation Southern Shield at hotspots where traffic crashes often occur.  The safety campaign is also being conducted in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee, which along with Alabama, make up the NHTSA’s Southeast enforcement region.  Speed is the number one cause of driving fatalities in Alabama.  In 2015, speed was determined to be a factor in 28 percent of the fatal crashes; 63 percent of the victims were not wearing seat belts, and 43 percent of the drivers had been drinking.

7/17/17

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Pennsylvania State Police trooper killed in line-of-duty

PA fallen

Trooper Michael Stewart was killed in a vehicle crash on Route 711, at the Route 271 split, in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County, at approximately 2:20 am.  His patrol SUV was traveling southbound when a garbage truck attempted to turn left onto the roadway in front of it, causing a collision.  Trooper Stewart suffered fatal injuries in the crash and his partner suffered minor injuries.  Trooper Stewart had served with the Pennsylvania State Police for three years.

7/14/17

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Convoy honors slain state police trooper

Trooper Joel Davis convoy

The slain state trooper killed in the line of duty on Sunday night will be laid to rest on Saturday afternoon following a funeral at Fort Drum.  Services for trooper Joel R. Davis were announced Tuesday afternoon by state police.  The funeral will be held at McGrath Gymnasium, 10050 Tigris River Valley Road, at 1 p.m. Saturday.  Calling hours also will be held at the Fort Drum gymnasium, on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the public and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for law enforcement officials.  Trooper Davis was killed Sunday night in a shooting in Theresa.  Also killed was Nichole Walters, wife of alleged shooter Justin Walters. Walters, charged with first- and second-degree murder, is currently being held without bail.  Trooper Davis, from Evans Mills, was highly regarded by his fellow law enforcement officers and first responders, according to those who spoke to the Times on Monday.  Tuesday, fire department, police and EMS personnel in Jefferson County had a chance to honor him when his body was brought back home from Syracuse, escorted by a motorcade of state troopers and other law enforcement vehicles.  The motorcade ended at the Reed & Benoit Funeral Home on 632 State St., where the family met their loved one’s body.  Although he worked all night, city firefighter Andrew Denney knew that he needed to honor the slain state trooper.  He had hoped to join his colleagues with the city’s fire department at Arsenal and Massey streets to honor the trooper killed in the line of duty while his body was returned to Watertown.  But Mr. Denney ended up with a contingent of town of Watertown firefighters, EMS personnel and Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies who were perched at the Massey Street overpass on Monday morning to see a procession of state police and other law enforcement vehicles that escorted the trooper’s body back home.  A Cape Vincent firefighter was in his full dress uniform.  The convoy of vehicles was met by similar scenes all the way from Syracuse, where the trooper’s trip began earlier in the morning.  It didn’t matter that Mr. Denney was not with his colleagues.  What mattered was that he was honoring the trooper killed Sunday night while responding to a domestic incident in the town of Theresa, Mr. Denney stressed.  “It means a lot to the family,” he added.  He was there with his two 8-year-old sons, Reegan and Mason, and wife Danielle, a paramedic with the Watertown Ambulance Service, “to show respect” to Trooper Davis, Mr. Denney said.  Watertown Fire Chief Charles Dillon got word Monday about the showing of respect and organized about a dozen of his firefighters to go to the Massey Street overpass to view the procession as it went by.  A large American flag hung from two ladder trucks and the group stood at attention when the trooper’s body and the vehicles passed underneath,  “To honor a law enforcement officer is the least we can do,” he said.  Thomas Horning, his daughter Keira L. Morgia Horning and her sister Cora R. Morgia were returning from a doctor’s appointment when they came upon the memorial.  Knowing it was for the slain trooper, they stood at the start of the bridge as they watched the procession go by.  “It’s not every day you get to see something like this,” Mr. Horning said.  Dozens of people lined up while the motorcade went through downtown Watertown.  City Fire Capt. Christopher Hayman was part of a group of firefighters that helped with traffic control while the motorcade came through Arsenal and Massey streets, where county employees from the Jefferson County Office Building paid respects.  “It was a somber event,” he said.

To watch footage of the convoy, visit http://wdt.me/TrooperDavisProcession.

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State Police trooper rescues man from submerged vehicle

 

An Indiana State Police trooper helped rescue a Roann man after his vehicle became trapped in rushing water.  The Indiana State Police said emergency responders responded to Wabash County Road 600 West near County Road 500 North just before midnight Friday.  When they arrived, they found a Chevrolet Cobalt off the west side of the road.  Only the passenger side of the vehicle was visible.  The driver, Daniel Winters, 60 of Roann, was trapped inside.  A State Police trooper, Dustin Rutledge, entered the rushing water armed with a lifejacket for himself and Winters.  He was attached to a safety line to a Roann fire truck.  When he got to the car, the department said he saw Winters was cold and his dexterity was poor.  The trooper put the life jacket on the man and secured him to the line.  While the trooper was pulling Winters from the vehicle, the department said the safety line attached to him broke.  The man was unable to stand so Rutledge had to drag him to dry land.  The man was treated and released at the scene.  The department said while the incident remains under investigation, there was heavy downpours throughout the day.  Police believe overflow from nearby Paw Paw Creek contributed to the rushing water and flooding.  This area is low compared to surrounding areas, which might be the cause for the collection and flow of the water.

7/13/17

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State Troopers make more than 100 drug busts so far in 2017

OSHP 2017 drug busts

The Ohio State Highway Patrol released its drug-related arrest totals for the first half of 2017, and they are up from last year.  According to OSP, troopers seized more than 860,000 grams of marijuana and 26,000 grams of heroin through traffic stops so far this year.  Troopers are trained to look deeper than the initial traffic violation and to search for indicators of criminal activity, the patrol said.   This tactic has led to a 12% increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.  OSP has made just under 8,400 drug arrests from January to June, and nearly 2,400 of those arrests were felony cases.  There have been 56 OSP felony drug cases in Trumbull County, 35 in Mahoning County and 24 in Columbiana County. 

7/12/17

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