The WKMG-Local 6 News effort to crackdown on school zone speeding has sparked widespread interest from viewers who say they want to keep the police speed check zones running the entire school year.
Twenty-three new school zone tips, ranging from elementary to high schools in Seminole, Orange and Brevard counties, were sent to Local 6 this week. The tips indicate that the speeding issues are widespread.
Local 6 viewer Sonya Barry Mageau says a stretch spanning three schools on Wingate Boulevard in Brevard County becomes a daily brush with tragedy. Her main concern is the middle school.
“The crosswalk by the school doesn't have a light, so they cross at their own risk. My kids have almost been hit and have been cursed at because someone was speeding and my kids were in the crosswalk,” she said.
Leta Floyd says Edgewater Drive by Bishop Moore and Edgewater high schools is “very bad.”
Not every tip focuses on school zones. JJ, of Orlando, wants police to check “Central Florida Pkwy between John Young and OBT.”
According to Local 6 viewer Cheri Cole, drivers are running a stop sign in front of Seminole State College.
"Just this month my daughter and I were nearly T-boned when a driver ran a stop sign, they run the stop sign and they are always speeding,” Cole said.
Sgt. Carl Santiago of the Orange County sheriff’s motor unit says there are 141 school zones in the county. Santiago says units are dispatched based on complaints, and in his view, the Local 6 viewer input is very effective.
“We took a habitual traffic offender off the road (last week) because someone said please go to work in this area," he said.
The speed check point on Curry Ford Road and South Chickasaw Trail, resulted in 30 citations and the arrest of 30-year-old Douglas Johnson, a habitual traffic offender.
Johnson was clocked driving 55 mph in a 20 mph speed zone. State records show his license was revoked in 2009, and under state law he was not supposed to be driving for five years.
"The penalties and sentence for driving on a suspended license (DWLSR) range from a small fine, to a third-degree felony carrying with it a maximum prison sentence of five years, a $5,000 fine and five years of probation," Florida law states.
After just two check points, Orange County deputies have issued 42 citations.
Orlando police, Seminole and Orange County sheriff's deputies are working with Local 6 to investigate school zones. Additional law enforcement agencies have expressed interest in joining the speeding crack down as well.