Vail Valley: Cops looking for spring speeders | VailDaily.com
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Vail Valley: Cops looking for spring speeders

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Police say they plan to patrol Vail Valley roads for speeders more often during offseason.

Tuesday was a good example of that. At least 20 police officers patrolled from the Utah-Colorado border to the top of Vail Pass during the morning and evening, said Sgt. Dean Garcia of the Colorado State Patrol.

Out of 85 people who were pulled over in the morning, 50 were speeding, Garcia said. Twenty-five drivers were going 10 miles per hour or more above the speed limit, Garcia said.

In the Vail Valley, police will be cracking down on speeders because they have fewer calls to respond to with both mountains closed and fewer people living in the Vail Valley.

Vail police dealt with a lot of crashes, pass closures, skiers illegaly using someone’s else pass, and problems related to the record number of days cars were parking on the frontage roads.

But during the winter’s heavy snow, it wasn’t as safe for police to park on the interstate and patrol for speeders, said Vail police Sgt. Chris Botkins said.

“It was a very busy winter from all aspects,” Botkins said.

Police will be patrolling the interstate for a couple hours every day, mostly during morning and late afternoon rush hours. Police also will patrol around South Frontage Road, where the limit is 25 miles per hour between Cascade and Vail Valley Drive.

They also will look for speeders in other stretches of the south and north frontage roads, Botkins said.

“I wouldn’t say we focus on one particular spot,” he said.

Avon police will enforce speed limits more often on the interstate during the offseason and summer, Chief Brian Kozak said. Avon Road also will be a priority because of all the traffic and people walking there during the summer, he said.

“Kids are going to be out of school soon and playing in the parks,” Kozak said.

Avon police also helped with Tuesday’s interstate patrols and have given out 245 tickets on Avon roads so far this year, compared with last year’s 614, Kozak said.

Avon police gave five tickets on the interstate in 2006 when they drove Chevrolet Tahoes. After the department got its faster Dodge Charger last year, it gave 91 tickets.

“It was our goal to decrease traffic crashes, and we succeeded at a time when traffic and congestion increased,” Kozak wrote in an e-mail.

Crashes decreased four percent in 2006 and last year, he said.

Eagle County sheriff’s deputies patrol Eagle County roads throughout the year, said Shannon Cordingly, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s deputies will pay close attention to speeding in construction zones this summer, especially a stretch of Cooley Mesa Road, she said.

Some drivers think that troopers have to give a certain number of tickets in a certain time, Garcia said.

Drivers have accused Garcia of trying to get a “free toaster” if he fulfills a quota, but the only quota he has is 32 inspections of semis every year when he pulls them over, he said.

“We don’t get a free toaster,” he said.

Troopers’ goal is to prevent crashes and they will be out in greater numbers, like they were Tuesday, during the mornings and evenings once a month between the Utah border and Denver, he said.

Which day depends on what day people crashed the most the month before and the number of troopers who are available, he said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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