On the last weekend in August, nearly 200 speeding motorists learned the hard way that the Charles County Sheriff's Office doesn't tolerate high speeds on our County's roadways. The Traffic Operations Unit conducted a speed enforcement operation Aug. 27 and 28 and issued 244 traffic citations, including 195 for speeding.
The Sheriff's Office used "Smooth Operator" grant funding to conduct the two-day operation from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day to stop cars and motorcycles that were speeding. On Aug. 27, three radar operators and 14 stop team members, with help from an officer assigned to radio communications for the operation, issued 99 citations to motorists who were speeding on Crain Highway, south of La Plata in the area of Budds Creek Road. Of all the citations issued, 82 were for speeding. The other citations included:
* Two for failure to wear a seatbelt
* Two for driving with a suspended license
* Three for driving with an expired license
* Two for driving with an improper class license
* One for failure to display registration
* One for driving an unregistered vehicle
* Two for failure to properly display and maintain registration plates.
The operation continued Aug. 28 on Crain Highway, south of La Plata, and on Indian Head Highway in the Mason Springs area. Three radar operators and 16 stop team members, again with the help of an officer assigned to radio communications, issued 145 citations, including 113 for speeding. The other citations included:
* Eight for failure to display a registration card
* Nine for failure to properly display and maintain registration plates
* One for driving with a suspended license
* Three for failure to wear a seatbelt
* Two for driving without the proper class of license
* Two for driving with a learner's permit without supervision
* One for providing a false name to a police officer
* Four for failure to display a license
Additionally, officers issued one citation the first day and three the next day for prohibited use of flashing lights. These citations were issued to motorists who flashed their headlights to warn other motorists of the radar operation. The Sheriff's Office had posted signs to inform motorists of the operation.
The cars and motorcycles that were stopped for speeding were all traveling in excess of 71 miles per hour. The fastest car was traveling 118 miles per hour and the fastest motorcycle was traveling 98 miles per hour.
"The people we pulled over were traveling at very dangerous speeds," said Sgt. Hoover Thompson, supervisor of the Traffic Operations Unit. "The number of traffic fatalities and the number of people injured in crashes in our county keeps climbing. The Sheriff's Office is doing everything we can, but people must slow down. The speeds we saw during this operation were unacceptable and they are too common on our community's roadways."
As of Aug. 30 this year, 32 people have died in 26 traffic crashes. Last year, 17 people died in 15 crashes. The highest number of traffic fatalities occurred in 1995, when 33 people died in 26 crashes.
The Sheriff's Office urges motorists who see vehicles traveling at excessive speeds or aggressive drivers to call the Sheriff's Office at 301-932-2222 in La Plata, 301-743-2222 in Indian Head and 301-932-7777 in Waldorf. Remember to provide a description of the vehicle, including make, model, color and tag number.