Local News

Troopers, Deputies Team Up To Ensure Safe Driving In Johnston County

Posted July 2, 2004 8:44 a.m. EDT

— Every holiday weekend, there always seems to be some stretch of interstate that becomes a parking lot.

Johnston County does not want to have "that road" this weekend.

Twenty-nine people have died on Johnston County roads this year, 13 just last month. A combined effort is under way to bring those numbers down.

According to the state Highway Patrol, the situation will be a little different on Interstate 95 in Johnston County this weekend. There will be more troopers patrolling for the Fourth of July than there were on Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day was a mess in Johnston County, with wrecks and deaths, and traffic at a dead stop for miles.

The Highway Patrol wants better results compared to the last holiday and last year.

"Last year, 10 people were killed on the interstates, and that was an unusual circumstance," Highway Patrol spokesman Everett Clendenin said. "Usually, the numbers are higher than that. We hope to keep 'em at 10 or lower. That's our goal this weekend."

While the troopers work the interstate, they have called in backup. In meetings held after the Memorial Day mess, they have decided to work more closely with Johnston County deputies.

"We're out here to prevent accidents from happening," Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said. "We're working in harmony with the troopers. We're going to be doing checkpoints here in Johnston County."

The Highway Patrol and the sheriff's office also are planning a joint enforcement effort later this summer using helicopters and motorcycles.

Troopers and deputies said Friday they will do all they can to make the Fourth turn out better than Memorial Day. But they said they will need some help from drivers -- help like people obeying the speed limit and staying away from alcohol.

Some people apparently did not get the message Friday morning.

"They just arrested a subject out there on I-95 traveling 90 mph and very intoxicated," Clendenin said early Friday afternoon. "So, we know we're going to have our work cut out for us this holiday weekend."