Detroiters want crackdown on reckless drivers after deadly Pickford crash

- The same reckless driving that claimed the lives of a young couple and injured their siblings has plagued Detroit neighborhoods for years.

"We sit on the porch in the summer and sometimes they come through here," said Jerry Sanders. "I know they're doing 80 to 90 miles an hour."

FOX 2 spoke with Sanders, who lives on Detroit's east side along with other community leaders who say reckless drivers show little to no regard for speed limits, stop signs and children in their neighborhoods.

"The kids get out of school and of course they're kids, they run and jump on the hill and roll down," Sanders said. "Suppose one accidentally rolls too fast and rolls into the street. As fast as they're going, they can't stop."

"It's miraculous that we don't have more traffic deaths with the utter disregard of so many of the laws," said resident Mary Jo Smith.

Smith heads up the radio patrol for the university district neighborhood in northwest Detroit .

"We figure we run about 90 percent of violations with drivers," Smith said. "Between speeding, failure to stop at stop signs, driving on the wrong side of the street, you name it."

"Hopefully Detroit police will come out and do what they normally do," said resident Winifred Blackmon of the Schafer 7/8 Lodge Association. "And they do, but it's not enough."

FOX 2: "The question a lot of people have is there more that can be done?"

"Certainly increased level of enforcement, increased level of visibility, makes people aware that we're out there," said Deputy Chief David LeValley, DPD. "That we're writing tickets, making stops."

But some residents say DPD's limited resources make that kind of enforcement sporadic. The Detroit Police Officers Association says there are just under 1,700 rank and file officers on the street in a city that should have 3,000.

"Of course we would love to have thousands and thousands of more officers," said Darin Szilagy, Detroit Police Department. "Every police department in the nation would, but I can tell you this: high visibility officer in a marked patrol car, deters crime."

But police say there's a fine line between beefing up enforcement and being too heavy-handed.

Smith is adamant that while more stepped up patrols would make neighborhoods safer, police cannot do it alone.

"I think that we as citizens as drivers as neighbors are also missing a bit," she said. "Because there are a lot of things we can do to remind ourselves and our neighbors that when you sign up for a driver's license, you commit to following those laws."

Until then Detroiters are left hoping and praying accidents like Thursday's on Pickford remain few and far between.

FOX 2 is told the two surviving victims are going to be okay from that crash. The driver at fault is in police custody at a hospital and could be arraigned on Monday.


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