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HOW TO SAVE A LIFE ON SR 82? Deputies say slow down in Lehigh Acres

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 18, 2024

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Speeding, road rage and deadly crashes are sadly not new to drivers on SR 82.

People even say they avoid the dangerous road for these reasons.

Fox 4's State Road 82 Community Correspondent Ella Rhoades joined the Lee County Sheriff's Office Traffic Unit Tuesday morning to see the road from their perspective.

"We are here to try to slow them down to save lives. That's our main focus," Deputy Ray Strobel, in the Traffic Unit, said.

LCSO says it's working to prevent accidents and the number of deadly crashes here.

Find more reporting on SR 82 crashes here.

Deputy Strobel says, "We do whatever we can to be out here. There's just not enough of us with as many citizens as we have in Lee County, so we are trying to make a difference educating to slow people down and have a big law enforcement presence."

It's all about more presence, enforcement and education.

Rhoades joined Srgt. Konieczki when he pulled a driver over on 82.

A deputy further back used a laser to pinpoint a specific car's speed and radioed Srgt. Konieczki.

The laser is more specific and accurate to determine an individual car's speed compared to the radar in each deputy car.

Srgt. Konieczki sped up to the flow of traffic, pulled the driver over, and checked her license. In this case, he just gave her a warning.

He says the point is not about giving the driver a ticket. It's about giving them something to think about in the future, especially, the younger drivers.

Deputy Strobel adds, "Until somebody gets hurt, then it's gonna be aw my poor kid. No, if you corrected it when he was doing the aggressive driving, it might have saved his life or somebody else's."

LCSO shared this statement with Fox 4 last month:

"We are increasing our presence throughout the county to combat aggressive, reckless, and distracted driving to help prevent tragedies from happening...To ensure our continuous efforts are efficient, the most important element is having our great citizens of Lee County be safe when traveling on our roadways. As I have stated, I have zero tolerance for aggressive, reckless, and distracted driving. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, alongside our surrounding Law Enforcement partners, will remain focused on lowering the fatalities occurring on State Road 82. It is our number one priority to keep our citizens safe on and off the roadways."
Sheriff Carmine Marceno

The agency recently added newer vehicles and technology to the traffic unit to help enforce safe driving.

Deputies say they often pull over drivers going 20 to 30 miles an hour above the speed limit on 82 which is 55 mph.

Since the beginning of last year, in 532 days, deputies have responded to 500 crashes.

In the two hours Rhoades spent with the Traffic Unit, they pulled over 13 drivers.

"I know everybody is in a hurry. We got a lot of congestion, a lot of people moving to Florida. I mean it's paradise here, but if we all follow the rules, maybe give yourself a little more time to get to your location, everyone's going to be safer," Deputy Strobel says.

The most important lesson on how to save a life: slow down.