Eaton County Sheriff's Office Cracking Down On Drivers

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

"During the busiest times of the day, their mission is just to be up and down and highly visible."

-Lt. Jeff Campbell, Eaton County Sheriff's Office, Delta Patrol

The holiday rush is on, but be careful of your speed.

For the second year in a row, the Eaton County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on drivers on Saginaw Highway.

The stretch of road near the Lansing Mall is the most accident prone area in all of Delta Township, and it doesn't have a very good reputation among drivers.

"It don't like it. It's so busy," Cathy Parisian said. She avoids shopping along the cooridore unless she has to, and Meijer-goer Joanne Soltis feels the same way.

"Sometimes I avoid it. Too many people are always in a hurry," Soltis said.

The Eaton County Sheriff's Office Delta Patrol Division couldn't agree more.

"Saginaw Highway accounts for almost half of our crashes in Delta Township throughout the year," Lt. Jeff Campbell said.

December is one of the worst months for accidents with all the holiday shoppers. To keep them safer, extra patrols will be assigned from Broadbent Road to Waverly Road monitoring traffic and watching for common violations that cause crashes.

"Looking for tailgating, speeding, failing to yield, and using the center turn lane as a merge lane when turning left onto Saginaw," Lt. Campbell said. "They get impatient, and so they take chances that they wouldn't normally take because they feel like they've been waiting too long to make their turn."

Using the turn lane as a merge lane is illegal and extremely dangerous. Law enforcement always recommend turning right, and then using a traffic signal to change directions up the road.

Last year deputies made just under 300 traffic stops during the safety initiative and saw a decrease in serious accidents. It's not about handing out tickets or hiding though, they just want people to be aware.

"During the busiest times of the day, their mission is just to be up and down and highly visible," Lt. Campbell said.

People who work in the area say they witness crashes on Saginaw Highway all the time, and some police presence would go a long way. It would make customers feel more comfortable and give employees some piece of mind.

"I've had at least three close calls where I've had to switch lanes and break abruptly, it's kind of scary, and because it's kind of the main drag, seeing a police presence, getting that exposure, is going to help," Biggby employee Calvin Tomaschko said.

Law enforcement hope it will help give Saginaw Highway a little reputation boost.

"That's what this is all about, to be able to drive here safely, and be able to shop here safely," Lt. Campbell said.

Because of the extra patrols, they've also been able to catch more criminals in the area. Law enforcement has been able to apprehend more shoplifters near the mall.

The safety initiative will continue through the holidays and maybe into the beginning of the new year.

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