CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield County Police Department (CCPD) is partnering with the Richmond Police Department (RPD) for a weeklong traffic enforcement campaign along Hull Street Road, known as 360 Blitz.
8News rode along with Sgt. Stephan Rouze with CCPD on Tuesday as officers stepped up efforts to crack down on unsafe driving behaviors.
“Historically, the Hull Street corridor in Chesterfield County has seen the most injury and fatal crashes,” Rouze said. “About a year ago, we started the Hull Street safety campaign, which became about a quarterly initiative where we would advise the public what we’re doing, in hopes they would voluntarily comply, knowing that we would be out there, obey the speed limit, slow down, stop for red lights, put their phones down.”
In 2021 alone, 8News has reported on several crashes on Hull Street Road in which authorities noted speed as a contributing factor.
On July 3, a 38-year-old Midlothian man lost his life after police said the car he was driving ran off the road and hit a tree.
Then, on July 25, a 28-year-old bicyclist was killed by a driver who was later charged with DUI, DUI manslaughter and felony hit and run. Although speed was not identified as a contributing factor by authorities in the July 25 incident, intoxicated driving is also something that police are cracking down on in this enforcement campaign.
“Generally, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, drunk driving and people holding their phones or distracted by their phones are the primary causes for crashes that we see,” Rouze said. “The faster you go, it takes you more distance to stop. The faster you go, the more severe the impact.”
On Monday, Rouze said CCPD officers on Hull Street Road issued nearly 100 summonses, mostly for speeding.
“The fastest speed we had through this stretch was 84 [miles per hour],” he said. “But we were all over Hull Street yesterday, from points close to the city line, all the way out towards Amelia, and we did issue several summonses for speeding in excess of 80 miles an hour.”
On Tuesday, though, Rouze said that fewer people seemed to be engaging in unsafe driving behavior, a trend he hopes will continue.
“Every time somebody dies on our roadways, we have to go notify a family, and that’s the worst part of the job, is having to g tell your loved ones that you were killed in a crash,” Rouze said. “We just want people to slow down and to get to where they’re going safely.”
In fact, in 2020, Rouze said that there were 28 fatalities on Chesterfield County roadways. That includes only the number of incidents to which CCPD responded — not including incidents where Virginia State Police were the first responders on scene.
Although this enforcement campaign wraps on Aug. 7, Rouze said that Chesterfield police will continue to work to put an end to unsafe driving behaviors.
“Generally, people are upset that they get pulled over, and we don’t blame them for being upset. It’s an inconvenience,” Rouze said. “But from our perspective, seeing the things that we see day in and day out from bad driving behaviors, our ultimate goal is that people get home safely. Driving is a team sport, and if we all work together, we can all get to where we’re going safely.”