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Ride along with the Racine County Sheriff: What he says about the I-94 after two major crashes

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 07:41:40-04

It's a busy highway construction zone that turned deadly.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson returned to the scene of the deadly fiery crash to talk with Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling about road safety and what drivers can do to stay safe.

Every day 90,000 vehicles travel through the northern end of Racine County on I-94 as they approach or leave Milwaukee County.

It's not the busiest stretch of highway in the state, but it's busy.

We buckled up and got down to business with Sheriff Schmaling behind the wheel.

His first advice to drivers: Bring your A-game. Meaning pay attention, the lanes are tight

"When you travel around the country in a construction zone you really have to dial it in and pay attention," said Sheriff Schmaling. "There is no room for error, to be quite frank."

DOT tells us they switched to three lanes of traffic in the construction zone this year versus two last year after complaints of massive backups and dreadful slow traffic times.

The Sheriff says things can change quickly.

Sheriff: Look at the traffic, and this isn't even rush hour. We're traveling with a herd of vehicles. Imagine if one of these vehicles decided to make an unsafe lane change, what's going to happen to us?

Benson: We have no way of going to the right. Our only option is to the left and now we're next to another car.

Sheriff: Exactly, or slam on our brakes.

The speed limit is 60 miles per hour but Schamling says speeding is an issue.

Get this! Sheriff Schamling says his deputies wrote more 1400 citations last year in this construction zone - mainly for speeders. That's four a day. So far this year - more than 700 citations.

"If people yield to the fact of keeping a safe distance, keep an eye on all my mirrors, I'm not on my cell phone, removing distractions and paying attention to what is ahead of me here," said Sheriff Schmaling

Construction through that area expected to last another five months.