Law enforcement working to reduce crashes on stretch of Highway 30

Law enforcement working to reduce crashes on stretch of Highway 30

Dane County sheriff’s deputies are working to make a dangerous stretch of highway safer. Three miles of Highway 30 between East Washington and the interstate have been the site of hundreds of crashes over the past two years. Sheriff’s deputies are hoping new enforcement will save lives.

Dane County deputies, along with the Wisconsin State Patrol and Madison police, are conducting enforcement deployments throughout 2018.

“I think it’s wonderful. I wish that they would put a few more police officers in the area just to have people slow it down, be more attentive drivers, get off their phones,” Janelle Wiessinger, of Sun Prairie, said.

Wiessinger takes the highway twice daily. She said the road poses several challenges: the highway is dark in the morning and congested at night.

“I’ve got my brakes on, there’s snow on the road, (other cars are) really close behind you. And I’ve had to slam on my brakes because I’m looking in my rearview mirror. I’m looking at who’s turning,” Wiessinger said.

The sheriff’s office announced the enforcement deployment on Wednesday. From 2015 to 2017, there were 579 crashes along that 3-mile stretch of Highway 30, according to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. More than 200 people were injured and six people were killed.

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of one of those fatal crashes. Kirk U’Ren, 37, and his wife, Jenni Steiner, 34, were driving on Highway 30 heading to the Kohl Center on Feb. 12, 2017. Police said Brandon Ballweg, 26, drove into them from the opposite lane, killing them both.

U’Ren’s mother, Geri U’Ren, spoke with News 3 about this initiative. She said any safety measures on the highway will help and said a median would help to prevent crashes like the one that killed U’Ren and Steiner.

The sheriff’s office said this enforcement deployment is similar to what they did on Highway 19 last year. They were able to reduce the crash trend by more than 19 percent and hope to surpass that on Highway 30.