Law enforcement works to crack down on dangerous driving on I-95
After a fatal crash Sunday on Interstate 95 in Fort Pierce, there was a lot of talk on social media about dangerous driving on the interstate.
As some troopers investigated the crash that killed the 60-year-old Fort Pierce woman when her vehicle went into a parked truck near the Okeechobee Road exit, others were engaged in a separate safety effort over the weekend.
When Ron Cleveland is driving on I-95, he's always looking around.
"People are nuts with these little cars. They are, I'm not lying," Cleveland said, laughing.
This past weekend, in fact, he saw he had plenty of company in the form of law enforcement.
"We went to Palm Bay and on the way up and on the way back, they were pretty heavy up through there," he said.
The Florida Highway Patrol joined with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office for "Operation Fall Fest," specifically targeting aggressive drivers over the weekend.
"I-95, especially through Martin County and up to St. Lucie County, I call it the 'Devil's Triangle.' There are so many crashes up there, and they tend to be high-speed,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.
Snyder said more than 350 tickets were handed out over the past three days.
"We're doing our very best to get people to slow down," the sheriff said. "I like to say this: Those rectangular signs with the numbers are not suggestions."
No county in the five-county viewing area has seen a more dramatic drop in fatal crashes than Martin County.
According to the Florida Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the number of fatal crashes in Martin County is down sharply from 32 last year to 11 so far in 2023.
WPTV looked at statistics from other counties and saw most were on par year to date with 2022.
Snyder said his initial objective was to educate and not push tickets, but since that wasn't working, his office shifted gears.
"And we're going to continue doing that because we are seeing a reduction in traffic fatalities," he said.
The crash in Fort Pierce was reported at 3 p.m. Sunday in the southbound lanes of I-95 at Okeechobee Road.
A 2011 white Hyundai Genesis sedan driven by the woman from Fort Pierce was traveling southbound on I-95 in the inside lane approaching Okeechobee Road.
A 2022 gray pickup truck with a 27-year-old Tampa man was parked on the inside paved shoulder of I-95. For an unknown reason, the Genesis traveled off the roadway to the left and onto the inside paved shoulder. The front of the Genesis collided with the rear of the truck.
The Genesis rotated counter-clockwise and came to a final rest facing northeast in the outside center lane. The truck was pushed in a southeast direction, where it struck the guardrail and came to final rest on the inside grass shoulder facing east.
The Gensis' driver was pronounced deceased at HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital. The pickup driver had minor injuries.
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