Last week, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell was traveling on US 70 near the NC DOT work zone east of Smithfield and noticed an elderly driver become confused during a traffic shift. The driver mistakenly began traveling on the wrong site of the traffic cones and nearly struck a DOT street-sweeper tractor before stopping. The Sheriff pulled over the elderly man, made sure he was okay, and helped him find his way through the work zone safely.
Sheriff Bizzell told WTSB News the incident made him more aware of the everyday dangers Department of Transportation workers and subcontractors face daily in work zones in Johnston County.
In response, Sheriff Bizzell ordered his SAFE Team to increase visibility and conduct a two day enforcement campaign – Friday and Saturday – on US 70 in Johnston County between Selma and Princeton, including the work area just east of I-95.
“I assigned the SAFE Team to work US Highway 70 – the future I-42 – due to concerns of the safety of DOT workers and other highway construction workers and the fact of the high speeds and even motorists driving drunk,” Sheriff Bizzell said Monday when announcing the results of the two day enforcement campaign.
During the operation on Friday and Saturday, 74 motorists were ticketed. One of those was an off-duty State Capital Police officer arrested for driving while impaired.
Six people were arrested on drug offenses, 20 were cited for speeding or reckless driving, 30 were given warning tickets for speeding and other violations, 7 were charged with driving without a license, 4 for registration or inspection violations, and one wanted person was taken into custody.