Indiana State Police crack down on work zone speeders
Work zone crashes have killed five people in two months. The latest was a fiery collision that led to a multi-car pileup on I-69 in Madison County Monday night.
The crash killed Audrey Chavez, a mother of three, and injured several others.
According to Indiana State Police, the semi rammed into a car as traffic slowed down for a construction zone.
State Police are stepping up efforts to slow people down. WTHR accompanied a trooper on patrol Tuesday, and during a short ride, we found most drivers speeding, with some going 20 miles an hour over the speed limit.
Trooper Andry Forgey explained to a driver he pulled over, "I got you at 58 mph."
It's likely the busiest and easiest job in law enforcement: catching drivers speeding through highway construction zones.
"This guy is going 71," said Forgey. He clocked another driver going 68 in a 45 mph zone.
Forgey hardly had to look for them. Speeders came to him
"Police people aren't slowing down. They are putting innocent lives at risk," he said.
In two months, five crashes in highway work zones have killed three motorists and two construction workers. Several others were injured.
State Police are stepping up their enforcement efforts.
"More tickets are going to be given. That's what our upper ups want to see happen to make people realize they are not going to get away with this," said Forgey.
A US Transportation Department study found speeding is a factor in more than one-third of work zone fatalities and that nearly eight out of ten victims are drivers and their passengers, not workers.
Forgey says he hears a variety of excuses. Drivers who claim they didn't know they were in a construction zone are the most disturbing.
"She had no idea she was in a construction zone whatsoever and she did not know what her speed was. She said she was going with the flow of traffic, which isn't even close to the speed limit," said Forgey.
Last year, work zone crashes killed 13 people in Indiana, up from eight the year before. So far this year there have been at least five deaths.
If you get pulled over, the trooper says don't expect to get a break or a warning. Fines are doubled in work zones, putting a speeding ticket in the area of $300.
Meanwhile, the family of Audrey Chavez is grieving their loss. A GoFundMe site has been set up to pay for her funeral expenses, and an account at Chase Bank has been created for her children. Donations may be made to the Jaden, Luke and Maya Woodard account at any Chase Bank branch.