Deputies' cars crash in Operation Thunder

 Two police cars involved in Operation Thunder crashed Friday night on Interstate 20 westbound near Jimmie Dyess Parkway, backing up traffic on the interstate.

About 7:35 p.m., vehicles belonging to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Habersham County (Ga.) Sheriff’s Office wrecked, according to a news release.

A Richmond County deputy, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Operation Thunder is a 90-day state crackdown on DUI, safety belt and speeding violations.

The operation began in Richmond County on Feb. 14.

Less than a month into the crackdown, officers have written hundreds of citations and made numerous arrests, but officials said Friday that writing citations is not the ultimate goal.

Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Ramone Lamkin said the goal of Operation Thunder is to see 100 percent compliance. Local officials hope the operation will increase motorist safety by creating better and safer driving habits.

Last year, 44 people died on Richmond County roads, up from 35 in 2011.

Operation Thunder, begun by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in 2007, concentrates patrols along interstates, state routes and rural roads for 90 days.

The task force generally deploys a combined safety belt, speed and DUI enforcement mobilization with local law enforcement.

On the first day of enforcement, the task force wrote 140 citations and made arrests for drunken driving and narcotics possession.

Police say the public has responded positively to the operation by offering support and asking officers to conduct checks in particular areas.

“Every time we’ve been out, we’ve gotten a lot of positive response,” Lamkin said.

Operation Thunder task force cracks down on driving offenses

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