Number of hit and run crashes increasing, Florida says

Florida hit and run

The number of hit and run crashes in Florida has increased every year since 2013, according to figures from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  The data has prompted the DHSMV to designate February as Hit and Run Awareness Month in an effort to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in the state. The initiative, Stay at the Scene, is in partnership with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Department of Transportation and AAA – the Auto Club Group.  “All motorists involved in a crash must be prepared to act responsibly and in accordance with state law,” DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. “Motorists are required to stay at the scene, provide certain information to the other parties involved and contact necessary law enforcement and first responders.  These actions may save a life.”  Staying at the scene is not only the law, but ensures that those impacted by a crash are safely assisted.  In 2016, there were 99,004 hit and run crashes in Florida with 15,851 resulting charges. Under Florida law, a driver must stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property that results in injury or death.  Leaving the scene of a crash is a felony and a driver, when convicted, will have their license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.  “Leaving the scene of a traffic crash is a crime,” Florida Highway Patrol Director Col. Gene Spaulding said.  “It is your responsibility to remain at the scene and immediately report the accident to law enforcement”.  You should do your best to provide immediate assistance to other motorists, passengers or pedestrians that may have been injured in the crash and wait for emergency first responders to arrive.”  Vulnerable road users, like bicyclists and pedestrians, are particularly at risk for drivers leaving the scene.  In fact, of the 179 hit and run fatalities in 2016, more than 55 percent were pedestrians.  During that same period, 18 to 28 year olds received over one third of all hit and run charges issued.  And 70 percent of those charges were filed against males.  “Leaving the scene of a crash is dangerous, and it can be deadly.  Help our officers render aid and protect lives by making the responsible decision to remain at the scene and immediately contact first responders,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Albert (Butch) Arenal, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.  “Don’t make a bad situation even worse by leaving – it’s a felony.”  The most important thing a driver can do when they are involved in a crash is to Stay at the Scene and call for help.  The public is encouraged to report hit and run crashes by dialing *FHP (*347).  For more information on hit and runs and staying at the scene, go to flhsmv.gov.

2/22/17

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Two drivers in Alabama are dead in a head-on collision, and what state troopers found when they responded is tragic

ALHP father and son fatal crash

Jeffrey Brasher and Austin Brasher, 50 and 22 respectively, are dead this morning. They are father and son, according to the report from AL.com.  Both men lived in Bankston, Ala.  They collided head-on around 4:10 a.m on Fayette County 49 near Winfield.  Alabama state troopers say alcohol is a factor in the accident and that neither man was wearing a seatbelt when the crash occurred.  State police are still investigating, but they say that Jeffrey Brasher’s pickup, a 2006 Ford, lost control and hit his son’s pickup, a 2004 Chevrolet.  Authorities responded to the scene and pronounced Jeffrey Brasher dead there.  Five hours later, Austin Brasher passed away at 9:18 a.m. at the University of Alabama hospital in Birmingham.  Alabama State Police continue to investigate the accident.

2/21/17

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Tennessee Highway Patrol arrests human trafficker smuggling 12 people

THP traffic stop trafficking

On February 8th, 2017, Trooper Jeremy Miller of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Interdiction Plus Team (IPT) stopped a white Toyota Sienna on I-40 eastbound in Hickman County for a traffic violation.  Upon speaking to the driver, Trooper Miller asked for a driver license which the driver stated he did not have.  The driver identified himself as Bernado Mateo-Lucas.  Trooper Miller continued to question the driver asking how many people were in the van.  The driver stated there were four additional people in the vehicle.  Trooper Miller observed six people counting the driver with an additional person lying under a blanket in the floor behind the driver’s seat.  As the interview continued, Trooper Miller noticed more movement in the back cargo area.  He counted six additional people lying on the floor for a total of 13 people in the vehicle.   The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection Blue Lighting Operations Center (BLOC) was contacted and given the driver’s name and information.  Trooper Miller was later informed by BLOC that Mateo-Lucas had a history of several human smuggling incidents and that his passport was fraudulent.  Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to the scene and took 13 people into custody (nine adults and four juveniles). All 13 people where undocumented aliens traveling from Texarkana, TX to Nashville, TN.  They were from Mexico and various Central American countries.  The driver is an admitted illegal alien smuggler with several records in BLOC’s systems.  Agents with the Nashville HSI Office responded to the scene. HSI arrested Mateo-Lucas who was referred for federal prosecution in Nashville.  Mateo-Lucas is an undocumented alien from Guatemala and was federally charged with alien smuggling.  The four children were placed in the care of the government.  This is an ongoing investigation.

2/20/17

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Montana Highway Patrol commissions 12 new troopers

Montana graduation February 2017

The Montana Highway Patrol commissioned twelve new troopers on Friday at the 61st Advanced Academy Graduation ceremony.  Montana Attorney General Tim Fox addressed the graduates at the event, which took place at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena.  Fox emphasized the importance of integrity for those who serve the public.  “Integrity is one of the most important characteristics that any individual can possess.  You’ll face some of the greatest challenges of your life while wearing this uniform.  But no matter what life throws at you, face it with integrity, as that is a true sign of leadership,” he said.

2/20/17

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Louisiana State Police deploys 165 troopers for Carnival 2017 and NBA All-Star Game

LSP Madri Gras and NBA1

The 2017 Carnival season is unique this year with the addition of the NBA All-Star game. Both of these highly attended events will draw large crowds in the French Quarter and around the metro area.  This will increase traffic in our area, resulting in increased aggressive and impaired drivers on our roads.  In an effort to ensure safety in the French Quarter and on New Orleans metro area roadways, the Louisiana State Police is partnering with the New Orleans Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, DOTD, and the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control throughout Carnival 2017 and the NBA All-Star game.  Governor John Bel Edwards has committed approximately 165 Louisiana State Police Troopers from across the state to supplement those Troopers already working in the city.  Troopers will be on assignment in the French Quarter and metro area, primarily focusing on proactive patrols, criminal investigations, crowd control and traffic control.  “Our commitment to public safety in New Orleans is ongoing,” said Gov. Edwards.  “Mardi Gras in itself is an exciting time to be in Louisiana, but adding in the return of the NBA All-Star Game makes it even better.  Col. Edmonson and the LSP are doing a tremendous job in assisting Mayor Landrieu and NOPD secure the city, but this added presence will help protect the people in around the City of New Orleans.  I am glad we are able to help, and I am looking forward to this exciting weekend in Louisiana.”  “Louisiana State Police is proud and excited to once again partner with our fellow law enforcement and the City of New Orleans for NBA and Carnival 2017,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police Superintendent.  “Our primary focus during these events is protecting our citizens and tourists and ensuring that they have a memorable experience.  We cannot do this alone; we rely on the public to assist law enforcement by coming forward and expressing any concerns related to criminal activity or unsafe situations.  If you See Something that does not seem right, Say Something!”  Please remember to utilize the “See Something, Send Something” app to report activity to the appropriate investigators.  The app is found listed as See Send by My Mobile Witness, Inc. and is a nationwide suspicious activity reporting tool for citizens.  Both text and/or pictures may be submitted directly to public safety personnel.

2/17/17

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