Local News

I-85 to Get More Police Patrols

Posted September 29, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— In the past, the Durham County Sheriff's Department has concentrated its patrolling on the northern end of the interstate near the Granville County line. But now the department is working the whole interstate through the county on the weekend.

The plan: more officers mean safer roads. It's part of a joint effort between the Highway Patrol, the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the Durham Police 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. "Not only our department, but other departments are concentrating on I-85 to reduce the accident load."

In 1996, eight people died in a crash on I-85 in the northern part of the county. 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 him to 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 you also have people that feel like they know the road well enough that they can drive it like they want to."

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

"By them being out there, they're a deterrent and it sure makes me slow down 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 given out almost 90 citations over the last two weekends.