Over a dozen motorists now owe money to the City of Wenatchee after a speed emphasis patrol on State Route 285.

The Wenatchee Police Department (WPD) reports its officers wrote 14 citations for speeding within a two hour period last Thursday (May 30) as vehicles approached the Wenatchee River Bridge.

WPD Sgt. Erik Vasquez says officers were targeting drivers who were traveling over a certain threshold above speed limit.

"I took the stance as the Sergeant of our traffic unit to say 'hey, we are going to stop cars that are going ten over (the speed limit) or above. And if we do stop them, we are going to write them tickets.'"

The emphasis patrols were established in an area where the posted speed limit is 45 mph. Vasquez says the fastest vehicle whose driver received a citation was traveling 61 mph or 16 mph over the posted limit.

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Vasquez adds although some might see the patrols as a money grab for the City, their intended purpose is most certainly to help prevent traffic collisions.

"We've had several crashes in that area recently. Some have happened as far down as the intersection of Wenatchee Avenue and Maple Street and some have occurred by Wendy's and Starbucks where people are just traveling too fast and then make turns when they shouldn't. So if people would just slow down as they come into town they would be able to react to those situations and that's the main goal. We're trying to prevent those serious accidents that create property damage, injuries, and even loss of life to the public."

The patrols come on the heels of a recent three-car collision near the Wenatchee River Bridge that involved a DUI and caused multiple injuries.

WPD says the patrols were initially prompted by citizen complaints but were not formally established to issue citations until after officers had the opportunity to vet the situation by monitoring the area using radar.

Vasquez says WPD will be conducting more speed patrols in the area in the weeks ahead and that these could eventually lead to changes in the amount of signage within that stretch of roadway or even to the speed limit itself.

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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals

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