Gautier Police work to slow dangerous Hwy 90 speeders

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Stand along Highway 90 in Gautier and you'll understand why police officers sometimes call it the Indy 500.

Throughout the city, the posted speed limit is 45 miles per hour.  But Gautier Police Chief Eddie Williams regularly clocks drivers topping 60 and even 70 miles per hour.

"You can set your car on cruise control at 45, get in the right lane, and the people will pass you standing still," Williams said.  "All day long. Any time of the day or night."

Throughout the city of Gautier, Highway 90 is a construction zone.  Williams is especially concerned about the men and women working during the week, sometimes only feet away from drivers moving at breakneck speeds.

"You've got work crews out here on the road, you've got citizens driving in trucks, dump trucks, asphalt trucks, you've got our officers out here on the side of the road," Williams listed.  "They can be out here issuing a ticket and people are driving 70-60 miles an hour by them."

For the past three weeks, hundreds of heavy-footed drivers have seen blue lights behind them.  Gautier police are beefing up patrols and writing ticket after ticket.  It's an operation aimed at slowing down speeders and diverting disasters that could follow in their tracks.

"When I can drive out here in an unmarked car and monitor the radar speeds that I'm monitoring," Williams said.  "It doesn't matter to me the number of tickets or the amount of fines, this is a dangerous problem and its got to be fixed.  People have got to slow down."

They hope their effort will make people think before they speed and hopefully save South Mississippi lives.

"We've had fatalities here in the past and we just want to see that doesn't happen again," Williams said.  "It's so much simpler just to slow down."

The cost of a speeding ticket varies case by case, but driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone like Hwy 90 usually results in a $176 fine.  Speeding fines can double in a construction zone where workers are present.

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