TUPELO, MS – Natchez Trace Parkway rangers conducted a traffic safety checkpoint just south of the City of Tupelo during the early peak commute hours on January 15, 2020. This checkpoint was designed to remove unlawfully operated vehicles, such as impaired or unlicensed drivers, from the Parkway during peak traffic.
“This checkpoint allowed us to focus on those most likely to die in motor vehicle collisions – our local drivers,” stated Acting District Ranger Jay Drinkwater. Driving without a valid license or a suspended license is a common element in fatal collisions along the Parkway. It is within the operational policies of the Parkway to tow vehicles that are operated without insurance. “We’ll give folks all the time they need to produce their proof of insurance; but if a vehicle isn’t insured it isn’t welcome on the Parkway,” Drinkwater continued.
Over 850 vehicles were screened in a 4-hour period that resulted in 4 arrests, 26 vehicles towed, and 34 tickets and 38 warnings issued. Of those arrested, two were for outstanding warrants, one was for possession of a controlled substance, and the fourth was a foreign national arrested for an immigration violation. “The ranger’s goal is to create a safe environment for all who use the Parkway, and this operation was a great success toward that goal,” added Acting Chief Ranger John Hearne.
The Parkway does not receive any money from tickets written by the rangers. All fines go to the Office for Victims of Crimes, which aids victims of crimes that are committed on federal land.