Breckenridge police research Airport Road safety
Breckenridge officials are researching traffic concerns along Airport Road — the site of two hit-and-run accidents in the past year. While the town and Breckenridge Police are far from a final result, the two are working together to analyze a plethora of factors, starting with driver speeds.
Kim Dykstra, Breckenridge director of communications, said the town’s public works department had recently conducted two speed studies on Airport Road.
The first took place on Sept. 17, with a radar speed sign set up at 609 Airport Road, just across from the location where 25-year-old Christina Martinez Hernandez was struck and killed on Aug. 31,2015. Laura Hamilton, 23, was found face down in a snow bank after a hit-and-run accident in the same location at the turn of the year. She survived with several injuries, including a concussion and multiple fractures.
Dykstra said that from the 24 hours of data, 85 percent of the cars headed northbound were driving 28 miles-per-hour or less, measured against a speed limit of 25 mph. That level of speeding would meet national safety standards, which would require 85 percent of cars to travel at 30 mph.
“We don’t know the cause of the accident that happened recently,” she said. “We cannot draw any conclusions at this point”
Another study, conducted at a segment of Airport Road just north of Upper Blue Elementary School, looked at cars traveling both northbound and southbound in a 35-mph stretch of the road. According to the results, 85 percent of cars traveling northbound were moving at 35 mph or less, and 85 percent of cars traveling southbound were moving at 39 mph or less.
“We were just getting some data. We know there’s a lot more data to look at,” she added. “We need to really look at that with a microscope and a fine-toothed comb.”
She added that the group hoped to have more extensive results for Breckenridge Town Council in November.
According to statistics released by the Breckenridge Police Department, 81 speeding tickets were written on Airport road between Sept. 1, 2014 and Sept. 24, 2015. Of those tickets, 10 were written for drivers exceeding the speed limit by 5-9 mph, 48 were written for drivers 10-14 mph over the limit, 21 were written for drivers 15-19 mph over the limit and one ticket was written for a driver going 20-24 mph over the limit.
PIECING TOGETHER THE DETAILS
Breckenridge assistant police chief Dennis McLaughlin said they were still continuing September’s hit-and-run investigation, with a few technical pieces left to analyze — including time-distance measurements and a closer look at the suspect’s vehicle.
Police arrested Steven Gravatt, the driver of a blue Volkswagen Tiguan, on Thursday, Sept. 10. The 55-year-old Blue River resident was booked into the Summit County jail with charges of failure to remain at the scene of an accident, a class-three felony, arson, a class-four felony, and tampering with physical evidence, a class-six felony.
Breckenridge Police were able to located him after Denver Police discovered his Volkswagen, which had been lit on fire and matched the reported vehicle from the crash. McLaughlin said they didn’t yet know if they could come up with Gravatt’s speed but noted that the car was in good enough condition to use for analysis.
“There’s enough left for us to do a good comparison,” McLaughlin said. “We want to make sure it’s done right.”
He added that Breckenridge Police were still waiting on an arson investigator’s report.
Dykstra said that the town and police would look at streetlights and pedestrian crossings in the future.
“This is just one piece of data that we’re gathering and present back to council,” she said. “We have to respect that police are doing their due diligence.”
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