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Why woman urges drivers in Richmond and Chesterfield to 'wait and be careful' on this busy road

'Everybody just seems to think wherever they’re going or need to get to is more important than maybe where someone else needs to be'
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Posted at 5:11 PM, Aug 19, 2023

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Since 1968, a long brick building just off Hull Street Road has been the home of The Dog and Cat Shoppe, a pet grooming and supply store.

Debbie LaTora has worked at the supply store for over 40 years and says the driving behavior she sees on Route 360 are "going to the dogs."

"People have gotten to be kind of rude. They run the stop light here at Turner Road all the time and speed. There have been several accidents down here at the turnaround," LaTora said.

One of LaTora's regular customers was hit just down the street on the Richmond side not long ago, which was one of hundreds of wrecks that happen on the Route 360 corridor through the Richmond region.

"She was going straight down 360, and they were coming off of Chippenham, and T-boned her. Unfortunately, her car was totaled. She wasn’t hurt, but her car was totaled," LaTora said.

Wrecks like this are one of the reasons Richmond Police and several surrounding jurisdictions have spent the past week targeting enforcement on the Route 360 corridor.

Dubbed "360 Blitz," the goal is to reduce roadway fatalities involving pedestrians and vehicles.

"Hopefully, with the 360 initiative, this will change driving habits," Richmond Police Major Ronnie Armstead said. "Thus far during the blitz, 100 summons have been issued in the metro Richmond area for speed driving, reckless driving, seat belt violations, and hands-free violations.”

Just in Richmond, there were 301 crashes on Hull Street (Route 360) in 2022, an increase from 284 wrecks the year before. In 2022 along Route 360 in Virginia, 20 vehicle fatalities, 1,016 injuries, and 105 serious injuries occurred.

“Hopefully these numbers will go down each year. That’s the plan. Hopefully, people are paying attention," Major Armstead said.

Speeding and distracted driving are problems on Route 360 throughout the entire region, at times leading to worst outcomes: the death of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

This is the fifth year of the 360 Blitz, and officials hope the drivers will pay attention to the deadly consequences of dangerous driving.

Back at the Dog and Cat Shoppe, LaTora sees so many speeders on Route 360, she pauses for a bit when she's at a green light.

"You just have to wait and be careful. Sometimes it’s like two, three, four cars that go through," she said.

Problem drivers, LaTora said, show a lack of respect for their neighbors.

“Everybody just seems to think wherever they’re going or need to get to is more important than maybe where someone else needs to be," she said.

The 360 Blitz will continue through Friday. The week of August 11-18 has proven to be among the most deadly on U.S. 360 throughout the Commonwealth due to the number of traffic fatalities, according to DMV data, Richmond Police said.

The 360 Blitz includes police agencies in Richmond, Chesterfield, Danville, Hanover, Henrico, Nottoway, South Boston, and the Virginia State Police.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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