Hundreds of speeders ticketed, warned along I-44 from St. Louis County to Joplin

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, 1.016 people were killed on Missouri roads in 2021, a 4-year high.
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 7:15 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -More than 50 troopers, deputies and police officers scoured 275 miles of Interstate 44 on Friday, marking the first day of a speed enforcement campaign.

Last year, the Eureka Police Department conducted its own, smaller campaign, issuing 203 traffic tickets, 169 warnings and 12 arrests.

“We were shocked,” said Lt. Michael Werges of the Eureka Police Department. “I think we knew we had excessive speed and certainly I think we attributed a lot of that to Covid because I think we all backed off our enforcement. But once we got back in the saddle we saw, woah, we have some speed issues and we decided we’re going to take an aggressive stance.”

Because of last year’s results, Werges said his department partnered with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for the campaign, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Shrewsbury Police Department also joined the effort, along with more than four dozen other departments located along Interstate 44 between St. Louis County and Jasper County.

“It’s not just about tickets, we’re here about roadway safety,” said Werges. “If you don’t get there, you’re not going to have any fun. So we’re trying to make sure everyone gets there safely.”

Several drivers pulled over on Friday afternoon registered between 80 mph and 90 mph on police radars. One driver was seen going more than 100 mph and failed to stop for police.

The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered the deadliest days of the year for traffic deaths and Werges said several more days of high enforcement will hopefully force drivers to think twice about speeding.

“Some of the speeds we see through here are astronomical,” Werges said. “You never know if when you pull someone over, if you’ve saved a life. Sometimes, that’s the case.”