Jackson County Sheriff

The Jackson County Prevention Coalition held its final safety check of year, wrapping up three such events throughout the county since April.

The volunteer organization, which works to reduce substance abuse throughout the county, hosted a vehicle safety check Sept. 28 in the westbound lane of Highway 64 between Miles and Preston.

Of the 38 cars that were checked in the 100-minute timespan, 14 drivers accumulated 25 violations.

Violations were as follows:

■ Driving without a license, 4

■ No registration, 2

■ No proof of insurance, 9

■ Equipment violations, 3

■ Possession of a controlled substance, 1

■ Possession of drug paraphernalia, 1

■ Eluding, 1

■ Speeding, 1

■ Illegal passing, 1

■ Failure to stop or yield right-of-way, 1

■ Driving on the wrong side of the road, 1

Iowa State Patrol, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Maquoketa, Bellevue, and Sabula police departments conducted the vehicle checks.

The coalition’s first safety checkpoint was set up April 21 to keep people safe as Bellevue High School’s prom took place at Mooney Hollow Barn.

A total of 13 cars passed through the safety check that night, according to Julie Furne of the Jackson County Prevention Coalition, which was granted $84,600 for 2018 to pay the cost for extra police, emergency personnel and first responders to set up camp and stop vehicles.

Of the 13 cars checked, three drivers did not have insurance verification and one person was cited for driving while revoked. There were two cars with equipment violations (lights out).

“The purpose of the Safety Checkpoint is to reinforce efforts by law enforcement officials that the message about traffic safety is getting out,” said Furne, who also is a certified prevention specialist with the Area Substance Abuse Council.  

Law enforcement checked 58 vehicles during a second safety checkpoint event June 15 on the Bellevue Cascade Road.

Violations were as follows:

■ Driving while suspended, 1

■ Possession of alcohol by underage person, 1

■ Child seatbelt violation, 1

■ No proof of insurance, 6

■ No or invalid registration or license, 3

■ Equipment violations, 5

“There really weren’t surprises once we got over the impact of the early closure the Sabula Bridge had on the very first check back in April,” Furne said of the three checkpoint events.

“We were pleased to not find any substance-impaired drivers,” she said. “We did have a charge of minors in possession of alcohol and the controlled substance and paraphernalia charge were a juvenile as well. Obviously, the person who choose to elude was a surprise.”

Furne said the coalition will arrange three more safety checks between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, 2019. Dates, times and locations are yet to be determined.