Drivers Behaving Badly

Hancock cops see more speeding, rolling stops recently

HANCOCK — The Hancock City Police Department reports the city has seen an increase in traffic violations recently, including speeding and motorists either treating stop signs as yield signs or ignoring them all together.

“The other day, I was parked at the bottom of Scott Street,” Police Chief Wayne Butler said during a Thursday interview, “and a motorist shot a stop sign and nearly T-boned me. If they drive like that in the presence of a marked patrol vehicle, how do they drive at other times?”

While the problem has become citywide, Butler said it has become a major concern because speeding and ignoring stop signs is occurring in residential areas, where there is a higher risk of injury or death.

“Up by the hospital has become another place where we’re getting the stop signs run and people speeding,” Butler said. “We don’t have students at the high school that generally are the culprits during the school year, and with the streets around Finlandia, we don’t have the students there, but we’re still having people who are using stop signs and negotiating them as yield signs. Stop doesn’t mean yield, it means stop.”

North Lincoln Drive, which is subject to high cross-traffic, has become another danger zone, Butler said.

“As far as the speeding goes, North Lincoln seems to be our primary location with the speeding,” Butler said, “and again: we try to issue as many warning as possible to educate, but sometimes the speeds we’re getting people at are not 10 miles over the speed limit. They’re 20, 25 and more over the speed limit.”

Corp. Robert Stites, who has been with the force for 23 years, said he has grown tired of motorists ignoring signs and speed limits, carelessness which puts pedestrians and cross-traffic at risk.

“It’s the same thing the chief is saying,” Stites said. “It’s citywide. Stop signs mean stop. I mean, there’s no debate. If the front wheel is still rolling, and we watch you go through an intersection, you’ve violated the law, and the speed laws are there for safety. And right now, with the traffic congestion, everyone just needs to relax.”