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Traffic enforcement patrols in French Prairie region show dangerous driving habits continue

COURTESY OF MARION COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Deputies are racheting up patrols in northern Marion Countys French Prairie region after a string of fatalities and reports of speeding and reckless driving habits.Recent saturation patrols by area law enforcement confirmed that speeding motorists continue to be a hazard in northern Marion County's French Prairie region.

Marion County Sheriff's Office reported that heightened patrols from June 26-28 yielded 84 traffic stops. Deputies issued 116 citations and 8 warnings.  Of those citations, 68 were for speeding, including speeds as high as 98 miles per hour, and one driver clocked at 60 mph in a 25-mph zone through St. Paul.

MCSO Sgt. Jeremy Landers noted that a traffic-safety team spent 4 hours during the afternoon commute on June 26 and 4 hours during the morning commute on June 28 on the saturated patrols. This area of Marion County has experienced multiple traffic fatalities during 2019 and the sheriff's office plans to continue enhanced traffic patrols.

MCSO issued a media release about the focused patrols to underscore dangerous driving habits.  Last month the office teamed with Oregon Farm Bureau, ODOT, and local farmers to hold a press conference at a local farm, issuing additional traffic safety messages. 

Marion County Public Works set up portable message trailers warning drivers about the safety patrols.  This marked the second traffic enforcement operation in the French Prairie within the past 6 weeks.

On May 20-21 the county had 6 deputies working the same area during the morning and evening commute hours, making 106 traffic stops and wrote 146 citations, the majority of which were for speeding.

Among the speeding tickets, 19 were for rates between 70 and 90 mph.

Landers said despite the extensive efforts to educate drivers of the dangers of aggressive driving habits, deputies are still seeing these serious infractions. He added that entering the holiday week, MCSO will be continuing focused patrols through the French Prairie area. 

"We will also be utilizing grants from the Oregon State Sheriff's Association to add DUII patrols during the annual St. Paul Rodeo," he noted.

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