MARK HOLMBERG: Investigating claims of Hopewell’s “Million Dollar Mile” for speeding tickets

Posted at 11:46 PM, Apr 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-18 00:40:54-04

HOPEWELL, Va. (WTVR) - Hopewell Sheriff Greg Anderson says he has every right to set up speed traps in his town’s one-mile stretch of Interstate 295. In fact, he says, the state police welcome the help.

Anderson also says his deputies never charge anyone unless they’re going 81 miles and hour or faster in that 70 mph zone.

But a CBS-6 review of court records for the March 22 Hopewell traffic court hearing and the next one on Thursday show lots of drivers ticketed for driving 80 in that 70 mph zone.

About 350 motorists are scheduled to face speeding and related charges in Hopewell Court this Thursday.

The record review also shows that virtually everyone who was clocked by Hopewell deputies as going faster than 80 was charged with reckless driving, a misdemeanor criminal charge that also adds six penalty points on the licenses of Virginia drivers.

Bob Battle, an attorney who has advocated increasing the reckless speed by the same amount the speed limit was raised, says Virginia code allows to jurisdictions to simply charge motorists for speeding, and not reckless driving, when they are going a little over 80 in a 70 mph, and stiffer fines.

View the AAA Mid-Atlantic News Release: press release Hopewell Million Dollar Mile

*report and commentary by Mark Holmberg