Amid rash of deadly wrecks, officers work to keep roads safe

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 10:35 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 4:35 AM EST
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WRENS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Law enforcement officers are making some highly visible efforts to cut down on traffic deaths across the region.

The point of these road checks is to keep everyone safe, even if it’s an uphill battle. The CSRA saw a deadly weekend on both sides of the Savannah River, with wrecks killing a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, a driver and a passenger. And the second firetruck in a week overturned in Augusta, although no one was seriously injured.

But still, officers are out there trying.

We rode along with Grovetown Police Chief Jamey Kitchens during a crackdown on Friday night when officers from 11 different counties teamed up to keep the roads safer during a crackdown.

“This joker right here is doing about 60 miles an hour coming up on y’all just now,” said Kitchens.

There’s nothing unusual about a car flying by.

“You’d be surprised the number of folks that enter this and are still doing 45 or 50 miles an hour and slam on brakes at the last minute,” he said.

Surrounded by blue lights and flashlights, Kitchens and his team had one goal.

“We’re out here just educating the driving public,” he said.

Twenty years and counting, Kitchens continues with class on the roads.

“You kind of get a little bit of everything,” he said.

Kids riding without a car seat, people driving without a license, he has seen it all. One thing that always sticks out is drivers under the influence.

“At some point during that evening, those folks made a conscious effort to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. I think that’s really what still shocks me the most after all these years,” said Kitchens.

All these years later, he continues with one goal.

“If we can do our part to come out here, let folks know, make them aware and educate them, you know, then hopefully we can drive the numbers,” he said.

In 2022, fatalities on Georgia highways were down by 40, trending in the right direction. But 1,787 people lost their lives, which deputies say is nearly 1,800 too many.