State troopers and DeKalb police conduct roadside safety check, write 101 citations

By Dave Gomez

Floodlamps powered by roaring generators and a lone K9 unit barking from within a squad car completed the scene as vehicles pulled in for the roadside safety check on Sycamore Road Tuesday evening.

The busy sight of vehicles being routed into the parking lot of Stock Lumber, 1926 Sycamore Road, by a dozen officers and state troopers greeted DeKalb drivers.

“No insurance,” signaled DeKalb Sgt. James McDougall, tapping the citation in his hand, the first of more than 100 arrest citations that would be issued before the night was over.

The event was a joint effort conducted by DeKalb and Illinois State Police and part of the “You Drink and Drive, You Lose” campaign funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Illinois State Police contacted DeKalb Police with an available list of dates for roadside checks, McDougall said, and also brought in six state troopers to assist, raising the number of officers conducting the check to 12.

The five-hour operation was intended to enforce proper driving laws and habits, McDougall said.

Although the checks are announced beforehand, the locations are not.

“It makes people aware that we’re doing these,” McDougall said. “We’re not out to surprise anyone.”

The checks usually inspect 300 to 400 vehicles, McDougall said.

State Police also conducted checks over Labor Day weekend.

Officers participating in the checks are watchful for potentially hazardous drivers, such as those driving under the influence or operating unsafe vehicles, said District 2 State Police Captain Emad Eassa.

There were 639 alcohol-related fatalities in Illinois in 2003, according to the NHTSA, a 2.1-percent drop from the year before.

Officers also check for proper identification and insurance, Eassa said.

During the five-hour check, 101 citations were issued, Eassa said. Of those, 65 were for operation of an uninsured motor vehicle, 19 were seatbelt arrests, 10 for no valid driver’s license, three for no valid registration, three drug arrests and one for a suspended driver’s license.

Traffic arrests in DeKalb from 2000 to 2003:

l Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs: 2000 – 118; 2001 – 140; 2002 – 154; 2003 – 208

l Zero Tolerance: 2000 – 7; 2001 – 16; 2002 -10; 2003 – 19

l No child restraint/no seatbelt: 2000 – 199; 2001 – 131; 2002 – 131; 2003 – 564

l Illegal transportation of alcoholic beverage: 2000 – 45; 2001 – 50; 2002 – 60; 2003 – 88

l Hit and Run: 2000 – 62; 2001 – 75; 2002 – 82; 2003 – 81

Source: DeKalb Police Department