Port St. Lucie police in midst of spring break ‘traffic blitz’

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Combine spring break, spring training and a growing population, and it leads to traffic troubles in Port St. Lucie.

The city’s police department is undertaking a “traffic blitz” to keep you safe on the roads.

Lea Bethea, who has worked along Port St. Lucie Boulevard for just five months, said she frequently sees crashes.

Jon Shainman/WPTV

Lea Bethea, who has worked along Port St. Lucie Boulevard for just five months, points to the location of one of the crashes.

“There (were) two over here in this parking lot area and one right behind me at this intersection as well,” she said.

That’s where Officer Brandon Rogers comes in.

He is part of a 20-member team dedicated solely this week to traffic enforcement.
On Tuesday, he was pulling over speeders along Port St. Lucie Boulevard. One speed test showed a vehicle traveling 63 mph in a posted 45 mph zone.

This “traffic blitz” was planned but comes just days after a fatal traffic crash that killed three young people and injured two others on Veterans Memorial Parkway.

The blitz is the result of feedback the police department is getting from the public.
“It seems to be absolutely continually over the last several years — the No. 1 complaint from residents is there is a lot of congestion and a lot of irresponsible driving going on,” Assistant Chief Leo Niemczyk said.

Jon Shainman/WPTV

Port St. Lucie Assistant Police Chief Leo Niemczyk says traffic congestion leads to irresponsible driving.

For business owners like Nuris Estrada at El Cubanito restaurant, the added enforcement is a welcome sight, though it would be welcomed more than just one week at a time.

Jon Shainman/WPTV

Business owner Nuris Estrada wishes the traffic enforcement was more frequent.

“We can see in the last year and this year especially, people come like I-95, they think it’s like I-95,” Estrada said.

After the first day Monday, nine arrests were made and 327 traffic citations were handed out.

The blitz runs until the end of the week.