JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Law enforcement agencies across Jefferson County are teaming up to focus on the Sixth Avenue Freeway and Interstate 70 — all in an effort to make roadways safer.
FOX31 rode along with Lakewood police on Thursday morning. The top offense was speeding.
“Eighty-eight (mph). It’s a sedan in lane one,” Lakewood police Agent Mark O’Donnell said. “So far, I’ve got three out here this morning: 94, 88 and 90. And what’s the speed limit? 65.”
O’Donnell knows firsthand the dangers that can come with traffic violations. One year ago, O’Donnell was on his police motorcycle when a driver turned in front of him at the intersection of West Colfax Avenue and Vance Street.
“I went over the hood, did some cartwheeling through the air and then landed on the street,” he said.
“The big concern initially was I broke my neck. So pretty early on in my hospital stay ,we did a neck fusion. I broke both wrists and arms pretty severely, my jaw and a knee. I will never have the same mobility as I had before the accident,” O’Donnell said.
Miraculously, O’Donnell is back on the job. The driver who hit him pleaded guilty to careless driving and surrendered her license.
One of the biggest catalysts for the increased patrols is the deadly and fiery crash that happened in April on I-70 near the Denver West exit. Four people were killed. Speed and reckless driving are being investigated as the main factors in that crash.
“That is the worst crash I’ve seen in my entire career, in terms of magnitude, destruction and loss of life,” O’Donnell said.
That’s why several agencies have teamed up for a joint crackdown on I-70 and Sixth Avenue. Officers are trying to slow down and stop dangerous drivers before they reach the city.
“If we can get them slowed down and going the proper speed out here, we reduce crashes further down the line,” O’Donnell said.
Last week, as part of the enforcement, police issued 175 citations: 157 were for speeding, eight were for failure to move over, seven were commercial vehicle inspections/violations and one was for DUI. Another two citations were issued for habitual traffic offenders.