The recently increase in vehicular fatalities on Interstate 40 and Highway 109 has caused City of Lebanon officials to bump-up law enforcement on the roadways.
Interim Police Chief Michael VanHook said that as of this past Monday three Lebanon Police Officers will be patrolling I-40 from the Beckwith Road Exit to just past the Watertown Exit. He included that they already patrol Highway 109, but will add to that as well.
Historically, LPD has responded to calls on I-40 but have not actively patrolled it. Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead said after hearing several comments from concerned citizens, he decided it was time to make a change.
"We hear all the time that once you get past Mt. Juliet on I-40 there aren't police, so there is more speeding. That, in conjunction with the accidents that occurred on I-40, made us ask the interim chief to look into doing something. It was getting dangerous," Craighead said "We want to encourage people to slow down, not be out there flying 85-miles-an-hour."
VanHook said having officers on I-40 in a "trial run" will resume for the next three or four months to see if improvements are made before making it a full-time patrol.
"It will be about 10 miles of interstate. We are hoping that it will help," he added. Recent fatalities on these roadways include Angela Gray, 35, of Gallatin, who died in a multiple vehicle accident on Highway 109 and Donald E. Rogers Jr., 46, of Lebanon, who died on I-40 between Beckwith Road and Highway 109 exits. Both occurred earlier this month.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.