SALEM, Ore.) - Marion County Sheriff's Office Traffic Team Deputies say they have encountered a high volume of motorists driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph over the past week.
On Sunday, June 3rd Deputy Kevin Ely of the Traffic Safety Team was pulled to the side of I-5 near Woodburn when he saw a car fast approaching. Marion County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Kevin Rau says the radar in Deputy Ely's patrol car registered the car's speed at 108 mph.
Rau says the Deputy was able to catch up to and stop the 2006 Ford Focus. When he contacted the driver, 26-year old James Young of Portland, is said to have told Deputy Ely that his grandmother was in the hospital.
Upon further investigation, Deputy Ely discovered that one of the passengers in the car, 24-year old Matthew Jay, had an outstanding arrest warrant. The driver was arrested and charged with Reckless Driving and Recklessly Endangering Another and Matt Jay was arrested on the arrest warrant. Both were taken to the Marion County Jail.
Then on Tuesday at about 2:30 PM, Deputy Curt Henckel, also of the Traffic Safety Team was operating the police radar unit known as "LASER" on I-5 north of Salem when an older pick-up approached. He says the radar recorded the truck's speed at 101 mph.
Deputy Henckel caught up to and stopped the truck, a black 1955 Ford pick-up. The Driver, 52-year old Christopher Perillo of Oregon City, told the Deputy he thought he was driving at 65 mph. When Deputy Henckel told Mr. Perillo what the LASER read he told the Deputy he was simply trying to pass another slower car that was going about 55 mph. Perillo was arrested for Reckless Driving.
On Friday, June 8th just before 4:00 PM, Deputy Ely was traveling westbound on Highway 22 near Aumsville when he saw a Ford Mustang traveling eastbound at a high rate of speed.
As the car approached the radar registered the car's speed at 106 mph. The driver, 27-year old Mitchell Morris of Stayton, gave no reason for the high speed other than to say he was not paying attention to his speed. Morris was arrested for Reckless Driving and violating his probation.
On Sunday, June 10th at about 9:30 PM, Deputy Ely was driving northbound on I-5 north of Woodburn when he says he noticed a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am approaching from behind. The radar gun reading for the speed of that car was reported to be 104 mph. The driver, 31-year old Carlos Velasquez-Esquivel of Beaverton, gave no excuse for the excessive speed. Esquivel was cited for Driving While Suspended and was arrested for Reckless Driving and Recklessly Endangering Another as he had 4 passengers in his car.
The list goes on Rau says. On Monday, June 11th at about 4:00 AM, Deputy Ely says he was driving northbound on I-5 near Woodburn when he saw another northbound car, a 2003 Mazda Protégé, approaching from behind.
As the car passed him, Deputy Ely paced the car at speeds up to 105 mph. The driver, 20-year-old Ashley Deymonaz of Beaverton, told the Deputy she thought she was "only going 85 or 90 mph". Deymonaz was arrested for Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another and was cited for Minor In Possession of Alcohol.
Rau says that according to a report by the Oregon Department of Transportation, in 2005 there were 44,878 crashes in Oregon, 29,022 of which resulted in injury and 488 in the death of at least one person.
"According to those statistics, in that same year in Marion County there were 1,523 speed related crashes with 23 fatalities."
He says drivers often over estimate their ability to drive and control a car traveling at a high rate of speed. They generally don't realize they have exceeded their driving ability until it is too late.