AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – An uptick in fatal traffic accidents on Mike Padgett Highway has city leaders questioning the law enforcement presence in that area.
“Well, I just notice a lot of traffic generally in the morning and in the evenings,” said Bennie Broom.
Bennie Broom is the owner of the McBean Hardware store. He says on top of a lot of traffic, there’s a lot of speeding.
“They can get a little wild on highway 56. I’ve seen a lot of speeding, all you gotta do is walk out the door and watch them,” said Broom.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office the number of crashes on the highway has increased. Just this past week one accident turned deadly and another ended with this F-150 driving through the storefront of this Tractor Equipment shop.
“There’s a lot of reckless driving that I see,” said District 8 Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
Over the years, the Georgia Department of Transportation has made several changes to the route, including repaving, widening, and reconstructing, that’s cost the state millions of dollars to ensure the safety of drivers. Augusta Commissioner Brandon Garrett points to a lack of law enforcement on that road for the total disregard of traffic laws.
“One of the things that I’m hoping happens is some increase in enforcement from the sheriff’s department. Especially during shift changes, especially coming out of Plant Vogtle. You know me living out there, I see it everyday, the speeds are really intense,” said Commissioner Garrett.
Commissioner Garret says there’s been a decrease in the number of patrol cars in that area. NewsChannel 6 took that information straight to the Richmond County Sheriff’s office.
“No ma’am, the number of patrol cars in that area has not decreased, if anything it has probably increased,” said Lt. Redmon.
Lt. Scott Redmon with the Richmond County Sheriff’s office says, because of the number of complaints from drivers, business owners, and people living near that area, the sheriff’s office has put more patrol cars out on Mike Padgett.
“So, we have actually have directed patrols, we partnered with the Georgia State Patrol on ocassion to have them come in and partner enforcement to try to reduce speed violations,” said Lt. Redmon.
He says the leading cause of accidents out there include speeding, distracted driving, and driving impaired. He says there are plans to increase the law enforcement presence on that road.
“With the resources that we have every time we have available units and again, it’s important that we partner with the state patrol to get their assistance when we see these problem areas.”