Troopers target Baldwin stretch of Interstate 10
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Staff Reporter

State troopers got the attention of motorists with flashing blue lights and speeding tickets for several hours Tuesday afternoon along Interstate 10 in Baldwin County.

Trooper spokesman Joe Piggott said 57 tickets -- 53 for speeding and four for other offenses -- were issued to motorists during a 3-hour period.

Troopers targeted the area in response to the recent spate of traffic deaths -- four fatal accidents in a nine-day span -- on the county's section of I-10. Two of those fatal accidents occurred over the weekend, with one in Loxley on Friday and a Sunday night crash in Daphne.

Standing next to a motorcycle and checking the speed of passing motorists, state Trooper Cpl. Brad Napp said Tuesday's concentrated effort was a direct response to the recent I-10 carnage.

"We try to cater our enforcement efforts to areas where crashes are taking place," Napp said. "So, yes, this is in response to crashes on I-10 in Baldwin County."

Troopers concentrated on the 10-mile stretch that includes exits in Daphne, Malbis and Loxley on Tuesday, and Napp said he was joined by six other troopers in the operation that began at about 11 a.m.

Cruisers from the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office were also visible in the area.

There were no similar efforts to concentrate on discouraging speeders in any other part of Mobile or Baldwin counties on Tuesday, Piggott said.

He also noted that troopers used "lidar" technology, which is similar to radar but more accurate because it features laser.

"Hopefully, it will have an effect on speeders in the area," Piggott said.

By reducing speed, Napp said, troopers can reduce the risk of an accident.

"Speed is certainly a factor in many crashes, but I wouldn't say most crashes," Napp said. "Another major problem will be inattentiveness. When drivers see this motorcycle and see these blue lights, they become more attentive."

Jerry Wayne Wilson Jr., 36, of Tuscaloosa, died when the sport utility vehicle in which he was a passenger rolled over several times on I-10 at about 5:45 p.m. Sunday. That accident happened just 48 hours after 29-year-old Matthew Cumbaa of Mobile died when his 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche veered from the westbound lanes into the median before plunging from the overpass and into the northbound lanes of Alabama 59.

Earlier this month, on June 10, Jeanette K. Hunt, 33, and her mother, Sandra L. Akins, 63, both of Bay Minette, were traveling west on I-10 around 4:30 p.m. when their 2001 Jeep Cherokee driven by Hunt collided head-on with a Nissan Xterra about five miles east of the Wilcox Road exit.