Home News Stepped up law enforcement presence on new Roosevelt Bridge, north to continue

Stepped up law enforcement presence on new Roosevelt Bridge, north to continue

Stepped up law enforcement presence on new Roosevelt Bridge, north to continue

MARTIN COUNTY — Motorists who may have noticed an increased law enforcement presence on U.S. 1 around the new Roosevelt Bridge and north in recent weeks should not expect it to lessen before the New Year, according to officials.

The greater numbers of Stuart Police and Martin County Sheriff’s deputies began after a crspansh Oct. 18 spant U.S. 1 spannd Bspanker Rospand resulted in four despanths

Black Friday, the end of the year holidays and DUI enforcement continue to spur a strengthened law enforcement presence. 

Lt. Michael Gerwan, Stuart Police spokesperson, said after the four-fatality crash “we had multiple citizens of the city contact the police department requesting heavy traffic enforcement.”

“I believe that a lot of the public were surprised that something of that magnitude could happen so close to the city limits,” Gerwan said. “They contacted the city and we answered the call.”

The crash, which the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating, happened as a Chrysler minivan traveling north on U.S. 1 turned left onto Northwest 14th Street. A couple identified as Tom Trowbridge, 70, spannd his wife, Debbie Trowbridge, 73, were in the minivspann. 

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A Tesla driven by George Meyer III, 18, with pspanssenger Emmspan Albritton, 19, was southbound on U.S. 1. The Tesla and Chrysler crashed in the intersection, with the Tesla overturning and catching fire. 

The four vehicle occupants died after the crash, which Gerwan said happened outside the city limits.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John Budensiek said the crash stemmed from speed of the Tesla.

Questioned via email this month about the Tesla’s speed and other aspects of the crash, FHP Lt. Indiana Miranda, agency spokesperson, only stated the investigation is open.

“Stuart police department has been conducting heavy traffic enforcement, heavy speed enforcement, and it’s resulting in some pretty stiff fines for some motorists who are traveling in our city,” Gerwan said.

A sign photographed Dec. 2, 2022, urges motorists to slow down at Baker Road and U.S. 1. A crash at the intersection Oct. 18, 2022, left four dead.

Sending a message

Martin sheriff’s investigators also focused traffic enforcement efforts on the area, generally from the new Roosevelt Bridge north, Budensiek said. A more formally organized, two-day initiative happened Oct. 26 and 27. 

Budensiek said a deputy Oct. 26 stopped a car he said traveled 102 mph at Baker Road and U.S. 1.

“We really wanted to send a message, ‘hey, we feel your pain,’ ” Budensiek said. “We’re pushing back on this constant issue (speeding) that we have.”

During the two-day operation, the sheriff’s office traffic unit made 388 different stops, Budensiek said. Of those, 228 resulted in tickets; 93 were written warnings; and 67 were verbal warnings. Most of the tickets — 178 — strictly were for speeding.

He likened speed enforcement to the Whac-A-Mole arcade game.

“When we’re in one spot, then they’re doing it in another spot,” Budensiek said. “We have to move constantly.” 

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Gerwan said the Stuart police intensified traffic enforcement continues, and he didn’t know when it could end. 

From Oct. 18 to Dec. 5, Stuart police issued 93 speeding citations on U.S. 1 between Northwest North River Shores Boulevard, just south of Baker Road, and Southwest Ocean Boulevard, just south of the new Roosevelt Bridge. The highest speed was 85 mph. Police also issued 96 warnings, the agency stated.

A Stuart police DUI enforcement initiative began Dec. 5. 

“We’re entering the holidays, a lot of employers are having Christmas parties,” Gerwan said. “That generally happens two weeks before Christmas. So that’s why we’re starting right now.”

Budensiek said the sheriff’s office starting Black Friday had additional deputies on the U.S. 1 corridor from the new Roosevelt Bridge north to the Treasure Coast Square mall area.

Daily traffic

After the four-fatality crash, some suggested evaluating the Baker Road and U.S. 1 intersection, but Budensiek said he didn’t think it was “necessarily any more dangerous than any of our other major intersections in Martin County.” 

“(The crash) truly was a speed event,” Budensiek said. “Not necessarily, in my opinion, the fault of a poorly-designed intersection.”

Martin County maintains the U.S. 1 and Baker Road traffic signal, such as maintenance of the signal lights, for the Florida Department of Transportation, county spokesperson Martha Ann Kneiss said. Modifications to the intersection are the purview of FDOT, she said. 

Guillermo Canedo, FDOT communications manager, said via email his agency “has been studying the intersection of U.S. 1/Baker Road … to determine what safety improvements can be made. The analysis is underway, and I don’t have additional information I can share.”

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Canedo could not immediately supply information regarding the average speed of vehicles in the area or average number of vehicles that travel U.S. 1 in the area. 

Kneiss provided statistics from 2019, the most recent year available, indicating average annual daily traffic for the U.S. 1 and Baker Road intersection is more than 52,000. 


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