‘Please slow down’: Police setting up checkpoints on Route 360

"Route 360 Blitz" cracking down on speeding

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Police Department says it is partnering with 16 other agencies this week in the “360 Blitz” to crack down on speeders and drunken driving.

"Please slow down and do not get behind the wheel if you have had too much to drink,” Capt. Donald Davenport, commander of the RPD’s Special Operations Division, said in a Facebook post. “We are taking action and working together to keep citizens safe.”

SLOW DOWN AND DO NOT DRINK & DRIVE: The Richmond Police Department is proud to partner with neighboring law enforcement...

Posted by Richmond Police Department on Saturday, July 20, 2019

It’s certainly been a busy week for Richmond officers.

“In the last few days we’ve written more than 100 tickets just in this stretch, in this corridor right here,” Sgt. Jonathan Nathanson, with RPD’s Special Operations Division, said.

While it’s unknown exactly how many tickets have been written in surrounding jurisdictions, Nathanson said a study from Virginia Tech led the department to focus its efforts on Route 360.

“It’s Hull Street, or Hull Street Road, 14th Street within the city of Richmond," Nathanson said. “It has a lot of crashes, especially in July.”

Statistics from RPD show 141 reportable crashes so far this year on Hull Street in the area of Warwick Road, out of 3,120 city-wide. Reportable crashes are ones where injuries are involved or there is at least $1,500 worth of damage.

The following statistics are from the last two years:

  • 2018: 265 reportable crashes along Hull Street Road out of 6,229 city-wide
  • 2017: 232 reportable crashes along Hull Street Road out of 5,487 city-wide.

Those numbers concern law enforcement and they hope people will think twice about speeding.

"People are just in a rush and you need to slow down,” Nathanson said. “It's not worth getting into a crash."

“I feel like every day I’ve heard a police siren of some sort,” Brandon Edwards, an accountant at Budget Glass Company, said.

Edwards works along Hull Street Road. He said he’s noticed an increased presence over the last few days and has become skilled at spotting speeders.

“I can just look at people and tell that they’re not going 35, that they’re going 45 sometimes 50,” Edwards said.

The police don’t just use their eyes. They’re also using a brand new laser called the Lidar RLR to spot drivers long before the drivers can spot them.

The Lidar RLR is being used by Richmond Police, Henrico County Police, and Chesterfield Police (Source: NBC12)
The Lidar RLR is being used by Richmond Police, Henrico County Police, and Chesterfield Police (Source: NBC12) (Source: NBC12)

“Nine thousand feet out," Nathanson said. “I’m going to see you way before you see me.”

Officers are also using traditional methods, including dashboard-mounted radar pacing behind cars.

“We’ve seen drivers go as fast as 75, 85, 90 mph on this stretch of roadway,” Nathanson said.

Speeding has been blamed in part for three deaths on Hull Street in the past two years. However, Nathanson said no deadly accidents have happened on Hull Street in the city so far this year, and officers are looking to keep it that way.

“Forty-seven mph again,” Nathanson said. “[He] passed two marked cars, almost 15 mph over, passing marked cars, right?”

The enforcement and checkpoints started July 21 and will continue until July 27 “as a response to frequent reports of speeding and driving under the influence along that stretch of road.”

Officers are also on the lookout for impaired drivers and those who are not wearing their seat belts.

“Drive slow,” Edwards said “Keep your head on a swivel.”

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