DPS uses aircraft to help catch 127 speeders

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Some drivers who were speeding this Presidents' Day weekend could not outrace the eye in the sky.

Eight highway patrol officers with Arizona’s Department of Public Safety worked with a single-engine plane to make 138 traffic stops along U.S. 93 over the holiday weekend, according to a press release from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

DPS officers issued 127 speed citations, five non-hazardous citations and three child restraint citations over a nine-hour period, according to the release. They found 11 criminal violations as well.

All of the cars cited for speeding traveled at least 20 miles per hour over the 65 mph speed limit, the release said. Of those cars, 83 were moving at least 90 mph and 13 were travelling over 100 mph. The highest average of one car was 106 mph.

The department's Air Support Assisting Patrol team used a fixed-wing aircraft to watch the highway, the release said. The pilot and crew used tracking equipment to tell if drivers were speeding or showing dangerous driving behavior, then alerted patrol units on the ground via radio.

Previous operations have found an average speed of 86 mph for cars they have stopped, according to a release. The highest recorded speed was 135 mph.

The department is planning more of these traffic enforcement operations in the future, the release said.

DPS to use airplane to catch speeders on US 93