To ensure the safety of all students attending New Richmond schools, the New Richmond Police Department is spending more time patrolling the school zones and enforcing the posted speed limits this school year.
According to New Richmond Police Chief David Willoughby, the amped up enforcement efforts have already yielded some major results.
On Nov. 16, New Richmond police officers arrested two suspects involved in a hit and run accident near the village schools in the 1100 block of Bethel-New Richmond Road (where all three district schools are located).
As a result of the extra police patrols, officers were able to respond quickly after concerned citizens reported that a reckless driver had passed the schools, ran off the road, and struck a mailbox before striking an oncoming car (1988 Chevrolet Celebrity) driven by a school teacher.
Four New Richmond police officers were on the scene within minutes of the first call; they immediately found the vehicle parked in the Lakeside Mobile Home Park just outside of New Richmond. To escape detection, the driver of the car had already fled the scene.
Car owner Dave Porter, 50, of Amelia, initially told the officers that his car had been stolen.
"When we explained to Mr. Porter that thieves do not usually steal a car and then deliver it right back to them, he did not offer much explanation," the chief said.
Porter eventually led police to his girlfriend Mandi Latham, 24, who was hiding from authorities inside the trailer.
Latham, an Amelia resident, admitted to driving the car during the crash. Police said she was highly intoxicated, and driving under suspension.
Both Porter and Latham were arrested. Latham was arrested for DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving under suspension. Porter was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice.
Chief Willoughby said that since concentrating on the school zones since school started a couple of months ago, the department has issued fewer tickets.
"We see this as a sign of success," he said. "Drivers know that we will be sitting there and are slowing down. Hopefully we are making a difference and our kids will be more safe."