NewsLocal News


State Patrol uses planes to crack down on speeding near state line

Pedestrian hit by semi on I-94
Posted at 2:42 PM, Jun 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-30 15:42:15-04

There's no shortage of construction work, speeding or traffic crashes on I-94 between the state line and Milwaukee.

"It's starting to pick up in intensity - a lot more crashes," said Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Robert Simpson.

On June 19, two people were killed in a fiery crash involving a semi on the interstate near Highway 20.

Friday, a crash involving two semis shut down a portion of the interstate near Highway G.

Margarita Quinones, who regularly drives between Milwaukee and the State Line, called this summer's traffic in the area the worst she can remember.

"The commute for us used to be 20 or 30 minutes, and now it's become an hour and a half," Quinones said. "There's always lanes shut down, or a car accident, and of course they're doing construction."

Simpson said there tends to be more traffic in the summer months.

He said the blames reckless driving, at least in part, for some of the issues on the I-94 North-South Corridor.

The Trooper frequently spots drivers speeding, not paying attention or driving with only one hand on the steering wheel.

"You need to keep both hands on the steering wheel, and to be observant," Simpson said. "You need to be ready to get your foot off the gas and to the brake pedal."

So on Thursday, the State Patrol used aerial enforcement in Kenosha County to crack down on dangerous driving.

Simpson said a plane above the interstate spotted speeders and/or reckless drivers, then radioed their vehicle information down to squad cars on the ground.

"The pilot is looking for fast lane changes, cutting in and out of traffic, drivers cutting people off," Simpson said.

In a Twitter post, the Wisconsin DOT said 35 drivers were stopped on Thursday, and 15 of them were speeding at 90 mph or faster in a 70 mph zone.

"If the plane can call out 15 cars in one minute, that's 15 traffic stops by 15 different officers," Simpson said. "There's no way 15 different officers just on the ground can catch everything the pilot sees from above."

Simpson added that while dangerous drivers typically keep an eye out for squad cars, they seldom look up to the sky for a plane.

"Maybe they see one squad car and then they think the coast is clear and hammer down," Simpson said. "That's when the plane catches them."