Police nab 125 in crackdown on I-235 speeding
By TOM ALEX • email@example.com • February 19, 2009
Metro-area law enforcement officers Wednesday nabbed 125 drivers in a speed crackdown on Interstate Highway 235 that coincided with opening day of the state high school wrestling tournament in Des Moines.
Twenty-three officers wrote 189 tickets between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. as thousands of mat fans poured into the capital for the four-day event, which is expected to draw an estimated 80,000 people to Wells Fargo Arena, just off the freeway.
It was impossible to determine how many wrestling fans were caught in Wednesday's radar traps, concentrated between the Euclid and Guthrie avenue exits east of the arena. It was also impossible to know whether a wrestling fan recorded the top ticketed speed: 92 mph.
One driver was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs.
Des Moines Police Lt. Mark Buzynski said he was unsure when the crackdown was scheduled or whether the tournament, which started at 1 p.m., had anything to do with the timing.
He said a grant from the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau paid for the effort, "and we have to conduct so many operations like this."
"It is a good time to slow things down," he added. "We don't want any big accidents to occur while there is a lot of traffic on the freeway. The idea is to keep people safe."
Christine Burkett, spokeswoman for the traffic safety bureau, said Wednesday's effort was carried out by the Central Iowa Traffic Safety Task Force. She said special events like the wrestling tournament are taken into consideration.
"When there is more traffic in town, there is concern for safety," she said.
Police departments from West Des Moines, Clive and Des Moines, along with the Polk County sheriff's office and the Iowa State Patrol, had officers at work on I-235 Wednesday. Des Moines police conducted their own operation Friday.