I-4 drivers cut through rest areas, face fines

Local 6 alerted troopers to dangerous trend on Interstate 4

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

LONGWOOD, Fla. - On most mornings, some might say Interstate 4 is more of a parking lot than an interstate.

Over several days in January, Sky 6 and Local 6 cameras caught drivers on westbound I-4 cutting through the Longwood rest area. In some cases, six cars at a time followed each other through the car and truck lanes.

Local 6 brought the potentially dangerous actions to the attention of the Florida Highway Patrol.

During one morning, as Local 6 cameras rolled, troopers stopped drivers who illegally cut through the rest area and sped. Troopers say several drivers were going 15 to 20 miles per hour over the 15 mph speed limit.

Andrew Ingram, a janitor at the Longwood rest stop, said he sees it every day.

"I seen ‘em. I seen a guy shoot past me," said Ingram. "You know, like cars pass you, spin around."

"I hate to even imagine," said one woman. "What if you pull up and have three or four kids trying to corral and get to the rest room, and one of them runs out in a traffic area," said one woman at rest area.

Drivers confronted by Local 6 said they did not know it was illegal to cut through a rest area. Many also said they thought it would cut their commuting time significantly.

"I was thinking about 15 to 20 minutes at least," said one driver.

A ticket for going 20 miles over the limit will garner a ticket close to $300.

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