EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — Just days after two toddlers were run over and killed by a car that had careened off an Eagle Mountain road while traveling at high speeds, a traffic operation caught numerous speeders in the same city.
During the "traffic enforcement blitz" conducted May 4-5 by the Utah County Sheriff's Office and Utah Highway Patrol, 67 speeding citations were issued, including one person hitting speeds of 86 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to Sgt. Spencer Cannon.
A high school student was also cited after being caught traveling 71 mph on their motorcycle in a posted 40 mph zone.
The operation began three days after 3-year-old Odin Ratliff and Hunter Jackson were killed when a car driven by Kent Cody Barlow crashed into the Eagle Mountain corral where the boys were playing. Witnesses said they saw Barlow's car weaving or drifting into oncoming traffic before the accident.
Drug tests given to Barlow came back positive for methamphetamine and amphetamines. He told police that he had been racing his car with friends, but did not remember what led to the fatal accident.
“There’s been a lot of speeding," Eagle Mountain resident Chalyce Jensen said. "The other night, we were just getting ready for bed [and] we could hear cars zooming, and we looked out our window. It’s hard to tell how fast they were going, but they were blaring through all the stop signs."
Some parents who have also noticed the increase in speeding said it’s keeping them up at night.
“We can hear it through our windows, people speeding and being excessively loud," said Molly Van Wagoner, an Eagle Mountain mom. "It's waking us up in the morning; it’s a huge problem."
Van Wagoner, who has lived in Eagle Mountain for five years, said she's worried to let her kids outside with reckless drivers and the recent tragedy.
“Our property juts up to one of the main roads," she said. "We have the two girls, and we actually worry about them playing outside because the speeding has been so bad."
She says her family is planning to move from the area, in part due to the bad drivers.
“We’re definitely not sad to leave, and it’s not even just the speeding… but inconsiderate drivers in the area. People cutting you off, weaving in and out of traffic — it’s really killed it for us,” said Van Wagoner.
Sgt. Cannon said the blitz had been planned for weeks, and that it was "only coincidence that it was conducted two days after the tragic loss of the two young boys."
In all, 101 stops were made during the operation, with the following citations and warnings handed out:
- 67 Speeding citations
- 4 Seat belt citations
- 1 Stop sign citation
- 2 Expired registration citations
- 3 Driver license citations
- 1 Cell phone citation
- 26 Warnings for various violations
The traffic operation was first reported by the Cedar Valley Sentinel.