MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) and the City of Milwaukee filed a civil litigation complaint against a reckless driver who has amassed a total of 44 traffic-related citations in the city since 2017.
According to MPD, Anthony Szablewski's cited offenses include reckless driving, red light violations, unsafe passing, and speeding. He was served with the lawsuit Sunday,
Police say the lawsuit alleges Szablewski's, "ongoing negligent and reckless driving affects the quality of life and safety of our community and is a public nuisance." MPD are requesting a Milwaukee County Circuit Court find his driving a public nuisance and orders "injunctive and equitable relief," police say. Failure to comply could result in seizing Szablewski's vehicle or being sentenced to jail.
“Reckless driving is an issue that has been plaguing our community for far too long. We continue to work on a multifaceted approach to combat reckless driving and need assistance from everyone, including our community. This new approach of civil litigation against egregious reckless drivers is intended to send a clear message to all the chronic reckless drivers in Milwaukee that we take the safety of everyone on the roadways in our community very seriously," said Chief Jeffrey Norman.
“The City of Milwaukee and our police department are using every reasonable tool to reduce reckless driving,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. “Going forward, drivers who chronically disregard our traffic laws will face consequences far beyond a slap on the wrist. That’s what the people of our city expect, and that’s what I expect.”
People in the community said they were happy to hear the news.
“It’s super bad for the community because we’re talking about lives that could be at stake right now," said driver Pharaoh Jefferson.
On 48th and Capitol, Rosetta Lane has seen several cars end up in her yard. She now has several boulders outside her home to help prevent it.
“I call that my boulder fence for the number of times they’ve hit my fence. I don’t even put a fence up anymore," Lane said.
Jordan Morales has become outspoken on the matter since its relevance in recent years. He said it's a creative way for the city to hold drivers accountable until laws for reckless driving become tougher.
“The reason people don’t really care about traffic laws now is because there isn’t really teeth. You can really rack up 40-50 tickets if they’re just traffic violations," he said.
According to MPD, there have been 20 additional offenders that have been ticketed more than 10 times in the last five years. Police say they have notified those offenders they may be subjected to a future lawsuit if their reckless driving continues.