Police make another round of traffic busts on French Prairie
For the third time in the past few months, officers from the Marion County Sheriff's Office teamed up with local police departments to undertake a concentrated patrol of the area near McKay Road in the French Prairie area. The road north of St. Paul has been the site of multiple fatal crashes this year, along with myriad speed-related incidents.
Jorge Valdez and Leonel Sanchez died in a head-on collision along McKay Road in March. Jessica Griego and Martin Johnson died in June after a similar collision, leaving Griego's 4-year-old son as the lone survivor of the crash.
The dangerous and deadly history of the area has sparked the recent enforcement efforts to encourage drivers to reduce speed and practice smart driving habits, for their own safety and the safety of others.
The Newberg-Dundee Police Department and Yamhill County Sheriff's Office were among the agencies splitting shifts along the thoroughfare on Aug. 20. In total, the traffic patrol from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. resulted in 148 traffic stops, 119 citations and 76 warnings; 75 of the 119 citations were speed-related, according to a release by MCSO.
A patrol effort in May resulted in 146 citations – 93 of which were speed-related – in an eight-hour period. After that patrol, MCSO Sergeant Jeremy Landers encouraged drivers to "engage in safe driving habits, slow down, avoid aggressive driving behaviors and put their cell phones down."
This time around, it appeared to be more of the same illegal and dangerous behavior from drivers in the area. The basic rule on roads like McKay is 55 mph, unless otherwise posted, but many drivers continued to rip through the area at dangerous speeds, only to be pulled over.
"The traffic safety team utilizes a three-pronged approach to enhance traffic safety: education, engineering and enforcement," the MCSO release said. "As part of these efforts, the sheriff's office continues to collaborate with Marion County Public Works, the Oregon Department of Transportation, other law enforcement agencies and community stakeholders to seek out improvements which promote traffic safety on Marion County roadways."
Funding for this most recent enforcement operation came from an ODOT grant that helped fund previous operations as well. The other law enforcement entities helping out Aug. 20 included the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and police departments in Wilsonville, McMinnville and Woodburn.
For more information on past and future patrols, visit www.co.marion.or.us/SO. Planned patrols are posted on the MCSO website or social media in advance and officers placed portable reader boards in the area to warn drivers of the patrols as well.
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