published Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Bradley County traffic gets holiday attention

Capt. David McGill of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Chattanooga District outlines how Bradley County will be the center of attention for an increased number of local and state officers through this coming weekend. Police are concerned about the rising number of traffic deaths in Bradley County this year.
Capt. David McGill of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Chattanooga District outlines how Bradley County will be the center of attention for an increased number of local and state officers through this coming weekend. Police are concerned about the rising number of traffic deaths in Bradley County this year.
Photo by Randall Higgins.

BY THE NUMBERS

Alcohol-related crashes are up 7.5 percent in Tennessee for the first half of 2012, compared to the first half of 2011. So far statewide, 2,547 crashes with impaired drivers have been recorded, up 177 over last year.

Source: Tennessee Highway Patrol

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — So far in 2012, Bradley County has recorded 10 traffic deaths.

That is why Bradley County will be the center of attention for an increased number of state troopers on the Fourth of July and through the following weekend, district Capt. David McGill said Tuesday.

The 10th death came Monday night.

A speeding vehicle flipped and rolled about six times southbound on Dalton Pike, and the driver was ejected, said state trooper Gray Gibson. No one else was involved in the accident.

McGill, Sheriff Jim Ruth and DUI prosecutor Brooklynn Townsend spoke during a media conference at the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.

A new feature to this holiday crackdown is the state's new No Refusal Law, Townsend said. Enacted this year by the Tennessee General Assembly, the law allows officers to seek search warrants in order to obtain blood samples. Drivers have no choice, even on first offenses, Townsend said.

Judges will be standing by through the holiday period to issue the search warrants if needed.

The new law gets its first tryout this holiday in Bradley, Anderson, Davidson, Maury and Warren counties.

According to Townsend the law went into effect in May immediately after the governor signed it. That is unusual, she noted, because most new laws take effect July 1 or Jan. 1. The law is being enforced statewide this holiday weekend whenever an officer has probable cause to issue a DUI citation.

According to the THP, the five counties were chosen for special "no refusal" sobriety checkpoints as well as "saturation" patrols because of the unusually large number of DUI crashes and traffic fatalities.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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