Local News

Johnston County crackdown slowing student drivers

Posted October 28, 2011

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Each day, Johnston County Sheriff's Deputy Charlotte Yeargin and fellow deputies patrol the roads around high schools in the county to help curb speeding among teens.

In past years, the county has struggled with North Carolina's second highest rate of teen fatalities in wrecks.

According to crash data from 2006 to 2010, 32 drivers ages 16-19 died on county roads, and of those fatal wrecks, 69 percent were speed-related – well above the statewide average of 57 percent.

Last year, three teens died, including South Johnston High School sophomore Jesse Ferrell.

Ferrell, 16, was on his way to school on April 28 when his truck collided with another on Hanna Creek Road. The next day, seven other students were involved in a wreck on the same road, outside the school's main entrance.

It's an area Yeargin often patrols.

"(Teen drivers) know when they come around the corner and they see a red or silver Camaro –they know who it is," she says. "They slow down, and that's the purpose."

It was wrecks, like Ferell's, that prompted the sheriff's office to start in April a countywide crackdown using unmarked cars to target school zones before and after school. Since then, deputies say, the number of speeding citations and warnings they have issued have quickly declined.

Yeargin says warning one student sends a message to all teen drivers to slow down and be safe.

Johnston program cracking down on teen speeders Johnston program cracking down on teen speeders

"We want them to make smart decisions and wear their seat belts," she said. "I don’t want to have to call (parents) and say their kid was in an accident. I'd rather call and say, 'Hey, I stopped your kid from speeding. Can you talk to them, take care of this?' I don’t want to have to call them for something worse."

This year, two teens were killed in January but there have been no other fatalities. There have been wrecks, including one as recent as Saturday night in which four teens were injured in Clayton.

The state Highway Patrol say speed and alcohol were a factor in that wreck.

8 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • stormtrooper76 Nov 4, 2011

    don't do like the SHP get out of the car take a deep breath and do that little strut up to their car with one thing on their mind "write a ticket"then talk to them like they are second rate citizens--they could just as easy let them know they care about their safety ,then follow them home to talk to their parents--then say next time you will get a ticket--I grew up in the sixty's and hats off to the SHP back then--99% of them really cared --now it seems to be about power and authority --been told by other law enforcement agencies that the school they have to go through really messes up alot of good men--wish the media would do an undercover on the school.

    Haygrower

    I've known several patrolmen over the years with HP and I've met and been stopped by as many good troopers recently as years gone by. Sounds like you got a ticket here in the last little while and now you wanna cry about how bad HP is now because they didnt cut you a break like they did years ago.

  • Mooney M20 Nov 1, 2011

    The arrogance/stupidity of our public servants is astounding. While the state is struggling to pay bills and state employees are losing jobs on a daily basis, the Johnston County sheriff's department (lower case s) has enough stupidity to buy two 45K dollar Camaro's to chase down teenagers. If this wasn't enough they then had the arrogance to flaunt them on TV. Am I the only one that feels insulted by this?

  • Rebelyell55 Oct 28, 2011

    @Haygrower, that a pretty good post, and not all SHP are like that. the older one still do what ya say,(except following a kid home and talking to the parent) those days are long gone. Sad that the world has gone the way it has, but that what some call progress.

  • twc Oct 28, 2011

    That's really good news!

    Now, if we can get driver training focussed on what to do when the car runs onto the shoulder. This needs to be done hands-on. In other words, create a shoulder the student can run onto so they can FEEL and HEAR what it does.

  • Haygrower Oct 28, 2011

    Hats off to the sherrif Dept --stop them call their parents talk to them treat them like human beings let them know you care--don't do like the SHP get out of the car take a deep breath and do that little strut up to their car with one thing on their mind "write a ticket"then talk to them like they are second rate citizens--they could just as easy let them know they care about their safety ,then follow them home to talk to their parents--then say next time you will get a ticket--I grew up in the sixty's and hats off to the SHP back then--99% of them really cared --now it seems to be about power and authority --been told by other law enforcement agencies that the school they have to go through really messes up alot of good men--wish the media would do an undercover on the school.

  • corvair024 Oct 28, 2011

    I am sorry Clayton...You have many roads with blind curves and no way to warn drivers of such things. Many of these crashes occur at these blind intersections. How about fixing these problems?

  • leo-nc Oct 28, 2011

    SHP writes tickets every single day at these schools as part of their regular job, and they don't need camaros to do it. In addition, the deputies aren't going to be the ones notifying the families. Trust me.

  • Rebelyell55 Oct 28, 2011

    Good job, now if only you can get your officers to report unsafe road condition they see everyday, so they get fix before and accident.