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I-85 to Get More Police Patrols

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Law enforcement officers are stepping up I-85 patrols in Durham County.
DURHAM — In the past, the Durham County Sheriff's Department has concentrated its patrolling onthe northernend of the interstate near the Granville County line.But now the department is working the whole interstate through the countyon theweekend.

The plan: more officers mean safer roads.It's part of a joint effort between the Highway Patrol, the stateDivision of Motor Vehicles and the DurhamPolice and the Sheriff's departments.

"There's been a large number of accidents in that stretch of highway,"said Lt. R.W. Ange of Durham County Sheriff's Department. "Notonly our department, but other departments are concentrating on I-85 toreduce the accident load."

In 1996, eight people died in a crash on I-85 in the northern part of thecounty. This year, three people died in an 11-car pile-up on the highway.Officers believe speed was a factor in both accidents.

Ken Martin drives the interstate daily and says pushy drivers force himto increase his speed.

"Obviously, I don't want a ticket, but I can't drive 65," Martin said."You have people that just don't know how dangerous the road is and youalso have people that feel like they know the road well enough that theycan drive it like they want to."

Durham County Sheriff's Deputy Will Oakely just hopes they'll drive likethey should.

"By them being out there, they're a deterrent and it sure makes me slowdown when I see them, Martin said.

And that's exactly what the officers are hoping for.Since they started this joint effort, the sheriff's department has givenout almost 90 citations over the last two weekends.

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