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Operation Thunder yields more traffic violations

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 6:08 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013 1:24 AM
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Road checks continued Monday as part of Operation Thunder, with the majority of violations for speeding and seatbelt usage.

Checks were performed Monday on Georgia Highway 56, Bobby Jones Expressway and Eve Street at Greene Street. The three-month operation in Richmond County started Feb. 14 and is aimed at cutting driving offenses.

MONDAY’S OPERATION THUNDER STATISTICS

Seatbelt cases: 32

Child restraint: 20

DUI: 3

Uninsured motorists: 3

Suspended/revoked license: 5

Excessive tint: 2

Texting: 6

Speeding: 42

Other violations: 17

Warnings:53

Arrests: 3

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ken8375309
1755
Points
ken8375309 03/12/13 - 05:37 pm
13
4
Brings back memories of me

Brings back memories of my family and I driving through Czechoslovakia in the 70's.. Can't say that I have ever seen anything like it since until now..

showboat
365
Points
showboat 03/12/13 - 07:16 pm
1
0
This is getting out of hand
Unpublished

This is getting out of hand now!!!!!!!

specsta
6709
Points
specsta 03/12/13 - 07:44 pm
12
7
Perception

It's interesting how Operation Thunder/RCSO states in the media and on Facebook that they are getting all sorts of great feedback from the roadblocks.

Here's a scenario - a motorist is driving late at night after a hard day's work and encounters a blinding display of flashing blue lights, police dogs, and a small army of cops brandishing 9mm Glocks strapped to their sides.

Now, will this motorist use the opportunity to tell this small army that this roadblock is a major inconvenience, is borderline unconstitutional, reminds them of Nazi "papers, please" Germany, and is intrusive upon their right to be left alone as a citizen of the US?

Or will this motorist hand over their "papers", tell the cops that they're doing a good job, thank them for their service, and nervously hope that a tail-light isn't burned out or some old unpaid parking ticket doesn't show up in the computer?

If Operation Thunder really wants to know what the public thinks about the overkill in these roadblocks, maybe ask that question of a few citizens when they aren't surrounded by flak vests, police dogs, and side-arms.

Also, there is major buzz that folks aren't frequenting businesses at night as much as before, because of the threat of encountering one of these road blocks. Are local businesses feeling the pinch?

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 03/12/13 - 07:51 pm
13
5
Since I dont have daily

Since I dont have daily business in RC, I will keep myself and my discretionary income in Columbia County until the Gestapo takes a break from its fundraiser.

useful
750
Points
useful 03/12/13 - 08:23 pm
9
12
I went though one of these

I went though one of these road check and I can only say thank you to the officers,for making our roads safer .I would like to see more arrest

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 03/12/13 - 09:08 pm
0
1
Specsta, I hope you happen to
Unpublished

Specsta, I hope you happen to drive thru one roadblock every day. You sound like an *** with ur stupid scenarios. You have far too much time on your hands. Good luck on the roads.

GiantsAllDay
10237
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/12/13 - 09:18 pm
12
1
I've expressed my opinion on

I've expressed my opinion on this before, so I'm not going to beat a dead horse. But tell me, who the hell texts as he's pulling up to a roadblock?

itsanotherday1
46705
Points
itsanotherday1 03/12/13 - 10:47 pm
7
1
GAD

I have to assume they are catching that on patrol. The amazing stat to me is the child restraint violations. For goodness sake I thought everyone would be diligent about keeping their children safe. Is it a marginal thing with age and height, or are people really allowing toddlers to roam in the car?

itsanotherday1
46705
Points
itsanotherday1 03/12/13 - 10:53 pm
9
4
And yes, it is probably

And yes, it is probably hurting some businesses. Just tonight I was thinking of going to a restaurant on Robert C. Daniel for a sandwich and a beer; but thought better of it because of the roadblocks. I don't drive drunk, but I didn't need the hassle of getting harrassed after even 1 beer.

rational thought trumps emotion
2625
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 03/12/13 - 11:03 pm
8
10
Spectsa

Spectsa, you don't have to believe what they say, you can visit the Sheriff's Office FB page and see all of the great response for yourself as well as the many requests for more coverage in various areas. If anything, the major complaints visible concern lack of coverage, speeders, and other roadway traffic problems that need to be dealt with.

What you encounter is a couple of patrol cars with flashing lights, polite police officers in uniform as normal (not brandishing firearms) and if you have a violation and are pulled to the side, you may see a police dog.

Since it is a privilege granted by a license to drive on the roadways, not a right guaranteed by the constitution, there is no borderline unconstitutional and roadblocks have been held up as legal in all state courts as well as the US Supreme Court. I would rather be inconvenienced for less than a minute than have drunks and others on our roadways and am appreciative of the checks. In looking at the stats, it also appears they are making arrests of plenty of criminals, wanted felons, drug users and felons with guns as well.

As for the frequenting of local businesses - if what you really mean is people don’t stay till they are blitzed and then try to drive home then that is great. Some businesses offer taxis and other solutions so if a business isn't doing well, maybe they need to adapt to the fact that no rational or logical thinking individual supports people drinking a few beers and then getting behind the wheel of a 2,000+ pound vehicle.

According to the state, 44 people died last year on Richmond County roadways which is almost 4 persons per month. So far this year, 2 people have died on Richmond County roadways in 2 1/2 months which is a huge improvement. Traffic enforcement and this Operation seem to be saving lives. If your family member was one of the 44 statistics, I believe you would think differently.

specsta
6709
Points
specsta 03/13/13 - 12:06 am
8
4
Fishing For Offenders

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

The main problem with roadblocks is the fact that they are not used solely to curb drunk driving, but they are used as a means to perform dragnets without probable cause.

There must be probable cause before a motorist is stopped while driving. Roadblocks take away this facet of protection from unreasonable search and seizure, because once you are stopped at a roadblock, you are temporarily seized until you are given the okay to proceed.

Now, targeted traffic enforcement of course makes sense (a nearby deputy would have been handy when I observed a 4x4 truck barreling down the highway at around 90 mph this afternoon) but casting these wide nets via roadblocks circumvents constitutional protections.

The problem with drivers in Augusta is a lack of training - and aggressive enforcement isn't going to solve that problem. If a person has no concept of looking far down the road when driving to see potential problems, or doesn't understand the physics of a car when traveling on a wet roadway or has no clue about the difference between a merge sign and a yield sign, then a citation isn't going to help very much. Drivers need training, and it has to become a standard.

itsanotherday1
46705
Points
itsanotherday1 03/13/13 - 12:49 am
7
2
"There must be probable cause

"There must be probable cause before a motorist is stopped while driving. Roadblocks take away this facet of protection from unreasonable search and seizure, because once you are stopped at a roadblock, you are temporarily seized until you are given the okay to proceed."

Those are some of my concerns too spectsta. I'm very happy they are snagging some felons and others; but roadblocks are dragnets that catch up people who would otherwise not be pulled over.

Take this hypothetical: Suppose I had gone on to the Roadhouse and had the "anything and everything" salad accompanied by two beers. I leave and get in the checkpoint, they smell beer, drag me out, and field test me. I am recovering from knee surgery and can no more do some of the leg coordination tests than I can fly. I'm in for getting cuffed, taken to the station, car impounded, etc, etc, until I can prove by breathalyzer than I am under the limit. They can still throw in the "dui less safe" charge because I wobbled on the leg test, even though I passed the breathlyzer.
No, checkpoints are dragnets that collect up people without probbable cause. If people get dui's, it should be because the are demonstrable intoxicated and unable to operate a vehicle. The penalty then should be harsh.

bumblebeerose
684
Points
bumblebeerose 03/13/13 - 04:10 am
3
0
itsanotherday1

As for the child restraints being a booster seat or car seat. Some people feel that once a child reaches 4 or 5 years of age they do not need one. The laws changed on this this year. Look up the law there is a age and height requirement before they can sit in the seat with out a car seat or booster seat. I think they still have to have a booster seat until they reach 80 pounds. Children under the age of 12 have to ride in the back seat also.

JRC2024
9916
Points
JRC2024 03/13/13 - 05:40 am
3
0
I haven't been thru one yet

I haven't been thru one yet but I hear there are lots of lights and patrol cars. I also understand the wait time is pretty long. I agree it is like a dragnet and will not help much in the long run.

Bodhisattva
6799
Points
Bodhisattva 03/13/13 - 05:48 am
4
0
So long, it's been good to know yuh

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Riverman1
90171
Points
Riverman1 03/13/13 - 08:17 am
7
1
Constitutionality of Checkpoints

The privilege aspect is that one has to demonstrate a minimum standard of driving. Cars weren’t around when the Constitution was written, but if roadblocks of horses and buggies were a common practice by the British and the founding fathers had thought of it, I have no doubt they would have outlawed such measures.

This is clearly a constitutional question. The Michigan Supreme Court had found sobriety roadblocks to be a violation of the 4th Amendment. That’s the case that went to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ACKNOWLEDGED such checkpoints infringed upon the 4th amendment but found properly conducted sobriety checkpoints to be constitutional. While acknowledging that such checkpoints infringed on a constitutional right, Chief Justice Rehnquist argued the state interest in reducing drunk driving outweighed this "minor" infringement. It was a 6-3 decision to allow the checkpoints. Rehnquist said, “No one can seriously dispute the magnitude of the drunken driving problem or the states' interest in eradicating it.”

What was in essence said was a national emergency existed and extraordinary measures could be taken even if constitutional rights were infringed upon. It was never intended that our rights should be infringed upon indefinitely.

Dissenting justices argued that the Constitution doesn’t provide exceptions. "That stopping every car might make it easier to prevent drunken driving...is an insufficient justification for abandoning the requirement of individualized suspicion.” Interestingly dissenting Justice Stevens also pointed out sobriety checkpoints were possibly negative due to committing so many officers to a task that results in few DUI arrests.

Ten states (Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) outlaw such checkpoints. Two other states (Alaska and Montana) have state policies not to use them.

The whole argument of the majority Justices was that a national emergency existed and measures had to be taken that cause a minor infringement on constitutional rights. As we see, these temporary measures never went away. It’s time for Georgia and South Carolina to join the other conservative 12 states and not allow such checkpoints.

nocnoc
46919
Points
nocnoc 03/13/13 - 06:22 am
5
0
ken8375309 said it

Before I whine a little - YES I am all for slowing down the speeders and couch rockets.

ken8375309 said it and this is what was meant by an earlier post regarding Travel Security Check points.

OK I'll say it, I detest military style Travel checkpoints. While the USA version is differently handled, any one can still be stopped anywhere, anytime and be required to provide Travel documents (State license, State ID and State approved insurance.)

It would do everyone good to watch a Youtube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4nQ_mFJV4I,
so that you can correctly understand your rights.

Learn from the video what is proper behavior for YOU while dealing with the LEO. Your Good or Bad attitude goes a long way in how the stop will be handled.

Remember a vast majority of our LEO's are fair and honest. But with that said RCSO has also fired a very very small number in the last 3 years for illegal stops, doctored reports, moral activities and other things.

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 03/13/13 - 06:48 am
3
0
Rush Hour

Bianca Cain Johnson reported:

Road checks continued Monday as part of Operation Thunder, with the majority of violations for speeding and seatbelt usage. Checks were performed Monday on Georgia Highway 56, Bobby Jones Expressway and Eve Street at Greene Street.

Some callers to the Austin Rhodes Radio Program said Operation Thunder was set up on Bobby Jones during the afternoon rush hour on Monday and was causing a major traffic backup. However, WGAC News never reported any mention of that. Does anyone know whether Operation Thunder actually did set up at rush hour, or were the callers confused (or maybe pulling some legs)?

Here is my request to The Augusta Chronicle editors: have your reporters be more complete in stories about roadblocks. Report the time of day the roadblocks were set up.

nocnoc
46919
Points
nocnoc 03/13/13 - 07:48 am
5
0
LL - Monday Morning Hwy 56 Hill

and later that evening.

Sure they catch a lot of speeders.
It is a long downhill speed enforcement zone, in excess of a 12% grade.

They also usually hang out on Bobby Jones East bound lane, just past the curve just before GA56.

Their other favorite spots are West bound Bobby Jones curve just before Wheeler Rd.

Downside lane of US 25 Gracewood Hill
Down side lane of Windsor Spring rd hill between Tobacco Rd and Meadow Brook Dr.

It seems they love to set up speed traps are on the downward sides of a long hill. I guess every little bit of an edge helps when you are writing tickets.

I seen enough to have dusted off my 15 Band Cobra Radar Detector and put it back up.

See http://www.speedtrap.org/city/2220/Augusta
for a lot of others.

Young Fred
19344
Points
Young Fred 03/13/13 - 07:52 am
4
0
I went through one of these

I went through one of these checkpoints a couple weeks back. Both lanes of Calhoun shut down, lights a blazing, police cars all over the place. My first thought was a major crime had taken place. Scared the bejesus out of my son.

After about 30 minutes, our alarm turned into frustration. Finally, after about 45 minutes we were ALLOWED to go on our way.

I’d say Specsta’s comparison to a police state demanding papers of its citizens is fairly accurate.

“Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Ramone Lamkin said the goal of Operation Thunder is to see 100 percent compliance.”

Really? I wonder if he said that with a straight face?

CobaltGeorge
169936
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/13/13 - 08:23 am
3
1
I Have

given uppers to all those against and uppers to all those for.....maybe suffering from a split personality.

CobaltGeorge
169936
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/13/13 - 08:25 am
1
1
Would Like

to see the break down on "Other Violations."

Young Fred
19344
Points
Young Fred 03/13/13 - 08:33 am
2
0
CobaltGeorge

I hear ya!

For me, the problem is defining the parameters of "...when some action is taken to correct...".

Of course, as a free society it's our job to debate the pros and cons, and let our lawmakers know when we think they've done a good job or gone to far.

My opinion-
100% compliance is an unrealistic goal, even outside of constitutional boundries. Throw in the constitution and it's hard to justify Operation Thunder.

The intentions are honorable, but it's paving a road straight to you know where.

GiantsAllDay
10237
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/13/13 - 08:51 am
2
0
Some GREAT comments from some

Some GREAT comments from some of my friends on here. Don't count on road blocks ending in GA anytime soon. 1) Way too much of a revenue generator. 2) Never mind #2. It would stir up too much hate and discontent.

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 03/13/13 - 09:53 am
0
0
Good job Richmond County.
Unpublished

Good job Richmond County. Thanks for keeping us safe while we travel. You may have saved my family from devastation by getting a drunk driver off the street. Stay safe and keep it up!

CobaltGeorge
169936
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/13/13 - 10:09 am
1
1
I Definitely Am One(Re post)

who will fight to death on any right or freedom that is violated under the US Constitution.

but think a minute on how many Cry and Moan on the unnecessary deaths, drug
issues, and all the traffic laws that are not followed ** and ** then think
again when some action is taken to correct the law breakers, you have another
Moaning contest.

So we are now back to "Damn If You Do & Damn If You Don't"

What is the real solution or action? I don't have an answer.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 03/13/13 - 10:34 am
0
0
roadblocks are ZERO tolerance
Unpublished

for the ones saying if i have two beers.....simple you shouldnt be drinking at dinner if you are driving...PERIOD.....beer is not a mandatory part of eating...what you cant live without it for an hour or two.....roadblocks if you are 0.01 you are going down for drunk driving....there is no such thing as the 0.08 at a road check its zero tolerance....and before you say a word trust me ive bailed out many a fried who only had one beer

Riverman1
90171
Points
Riverman1 03/13/13 - 01:27 pm
3
0
CGEE said, "I Have given

CGEE said, "I Have given uppers to all those against and uppers to all those for.....maybe suffering from a split personality."

Well, I gave you an upper for that :).

itsanotherday1
46705
Points
itsanotherday1 03/13/13 - 11:16 am
2
0
The solution CG,

Is to patrol and aggressively enforce the law. If there is a radar car on the shoulder, people get by it and haul arse again. If there is a car rolling with the traffic, they all slow down and drive to avoid any attention. This stops the speeding, lane darting, etc. The officer has the opportunity to observe for erratic driving and get those who are actually in violation of the law, and not victims of dragnets.
Pacing also allows the officer to write tickets to people who may only be going 9 over, but are running clearly faster than the traffic flow.

Visibility is a heck of a deterrent, but you don't make money on "deterred" drivers do you?

Speaking of visibility, I wouldn't mind a few unmarked cars for those whom the visible presence of more police hasn't slowed them down.

seenitB4
93349
Points
seenitB4 03/13/13 - 11:19 am
3
0
Cgee I have to agree with ya

I Have

given uppers to all those against and uppers to all those for.....maybe suffering from a split personality.

I have the same feeling on this......as much as I hate gov intrusion I still see some good in this.....we can't have police breaking in our doors but we can have road blocks to get some baddies off the road....I feel more good will come of this....and we can't have it BOTH ways.....we fuss about duis---baddies with guns--speeders & etc....well they are doing something!!

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