Holiday has police, deputies on toes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2005

More people die nationally in car accidents on July 3 and July 4 than any other days of the year.

The stats, based on numbers from 1986 through 2002 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, are something local authorities plan to beat this weekend.

Officers in Natchez and Concordia Parish will be watching for potential problems starting Friday.

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&uot;Buckle up and watch your speed,&uot; Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell said. &uot;These extra patrols will be devoted to motorists’ safety &045; we especially want to see children buckled up. We’re hoping to have an accident-free July 4 weekend.&uot;

Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said his city has been lucky in recent years, with few accidents, something he attributes to awareness.

&uot;Officers will be on the lookout for erratic driving, as usual,&uot; Mullins said. &uot;We encourage people not to drink and drive, and if they decide to drink, don’t get behind the wheel.&uot;

CPSO officers will also be patrolling waterways and watching for alcohol consumption on the water.

&uot;Weather permitting, there’ll be hundreds of people out driving, boating and swimming all weekend,&uot; Maxwell said. &uot;We all have to be aware that the top safety hazards are speed and alcohol &045; and it doesn’t matter if it’s on the lake or a highway &045; the dangers are significant.&uot;

Maxwell also asked those planning to attend the Flotilla and Queen’s Ball at Lake St. John to park well off the street and avoid blocking traffic.

Ferriday Police Department Chief Investigator Richard Madison warned parents to watch children in swimming pools, even small yard pools.

Madison said the combination of the holiday weekend and three recent shootings and a stabbing will bring officers out in full force.

&uot;We will be out hot and heavy from the 1st to the 4th,&uot; he said. &uot;We are not going to be reactive, we are going to be proactive. The plan of action is to prevent it.&uot;

Madison also warned about the dangers of shooting fireworks and said they shouldn’t be shot in the city limits.

Shooting fireworks in the city limits of Natchez is illegal, and Mullins said arrests would be made.