Published: Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thousands caught in speed trap
In addition to speeders, police also caught reckless drivers and made felony arrests.

By Scott Pesznecker
Herald Writer

Police pulled over thousands of drivers in Snohomish County during a five-day speeding crackdown that ended Monday.

Officers from several agencies issued 2,768 citations in three of the county's worst areas for speeding, said Tracy McMillan, coordinator for the Snohomish County DUI Task Force.

The officers staked out roads in the following areas: Marysville, Lakewood and Arlington; Lake Stevens; and south of Mill Creek.

"I feel it was a success due to the fact we didn't have any serious injury or fatality collisions in the areas we were working," Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary said.

They stopped 4,235 drivers and issued citations to 2,281 of them for speeding, according to Washington Traffic Safety Commission data.

Police also cited 118 people for not wearing seat belts, 43 for aggressive driving and five for driving while impaired, according to the data. Police also arrested six people on felony warrants and 27 on misdemeanor warrants. Seven drivers were arrested on suspicion of using or carrying drugs or alcohol.

Also, 69 people were caught driving with a suspended or revoked license and 199 were driving without insurance. Police recovered four stolen cars.

Other citations were written for infractions such as reckless driving or failing to properly secure child safety seats.

"A lot of bad people can be taken off the road in a traffic stop," said sheriff's Lt. Rodney Rochon, the incident commander for the extra patrols.

The state traffic commission paid for more than 1,500 overtime hours to staff the extra patrols. Police plan to swarm the speeding hot spots again sometime next year, McMillan said.

The crackdown is part of a new anti-speeding strategy being tested in Snohomish and Pierce counties.

Police made fewer traffic stops during the first couple of days because of the rainy weather, Rochon said. The extra patrols were canceled Nov. 7 when near-record flooding occurred in the county.

Police hope the crackdown eventually helps to reduce speeding in the three areas.

"Once people see a law enforcement presence, they are more apt to slow down than if we are not present," Leary said.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or