12/06/05 — Police target speeders near school

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Police target speeders near school

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on December 6, 2005 1:55 PM

After two 13-year-old eighth-graders were struck by a sport utility vehicle and critically injured, a Goldsboro police officer has been assigned to work the crosswalk between Meadow Lane Elementary and Greenwood Middle schools.

Police Maj. M.D. Hopper, who supervises the patrol division, said the officers will work East Ash Street between the schools.

One boy, Carson Thomas, has been upgraded to serious condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. The other, Mackenzie Wessels, has been released from Pitt Memorial and is recovering at home. Both live on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Charges against the driver, who had been identified as Luis Delgado Jesus, 23, of Bennett's Bridge Road, Mount Olive, have been upgraded to two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon while inflicting serious injury. His secured bond was increased by Magistrate W.B. Buchanan from $5,500 to $200,000. He was charged at first with numerous misdemeanor traffic offenses.

Despite the crash, Hopper says the police have received few complaints about speeders at the two schools.

"Most of our speeding complaints in that area are from Oak Forest Road out to U.S. 70," he said.

The collision occurred on the first day of the statewide, winter "Booze It and Lose It" campaign against drunken driving.

During the last week, police charged 74 people with speeding in Goldsboro. For the first three reporting periods, between Nov. 18 and Sunday, police have ticketed 295 people for speeding. The seven-week program will end Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, Hopper says his department has worked closely with the air base to reduce traffic offenses. He says the base has many prevention programs, especially after two airmen were killed recently on a speeding motorcycle in neighboring Greene County.

In Wayne County, Sheriff's Maj. Billy Anderson says school resource officers direct traffic in the mornings and afternoons at the high schools and two alternative schools. But the lack of manpower prevents any other deputies from being assigned regularly to school zones.

The Highway Patrol also patrols school zones in the county as much as possible, 1st Sgt. T.L. McLeod says, unless troopers are investigating a wreck at the same time.