High-speed chase policies don't work
Hernando County Deputy Sheriff John Mecklenburg's recent death in a vehicle pursuit car accident was shocking and tragic, but was the officer's death necessary, or could it have been avoided?
The person being pursued, Michael James Anthony, was driving against oncoming traffic on U.S. 41 in Brooksville, and was apparently putting other people's lives in danger as well.
One has to wonder if the pursuit may have created more danger on the highway, not less. Had an innocent citizen been the victim of being hit by the fleeing suspect, or worse yet, by a sheriff's car, instead of the deputy sheriff losing control of his speeding vehicle during the pursuit, would the community now be asking how necessary was Deputy Mecklenburg's decision to continue his pursuit?
Another example of unnecessary pursuits was the recent motorcycle death of Spring Hill resident Henry F. McCain, who was hit and killed on his motorcycle at U.S. 19 and County Line Road, when he was crossing the intersection with a green light. McCain was hit by a vehicle that was fleeing Pasco County Sheriff's deputies after being stopped minutes earlier in Hudson. Deputies knew who the fleeing female suspect was, Brittany Elizabeth Miles, since they had called in her license and plate numbers.
Because of these pursuits, an outstanding deputy and an innocent citizen of Hernando County died unnecessarily due to the continuance of egregious police pursuit policies in two neighboring counties, despite the potential dangers to themselves and others.
Hopefully, the legacy that both Deputy Mecklenburg and Mr. McCain can leave for us will be the changing of two county policies which will require officers to cease such dangerous pursuits. Such policy changes, and the victims' legacies, may also have a positive impact on the entire state of Florida, and our nation as well.
Brian P. Moore, Spring Hill
Hill on Deltona creates hazard
On June 30, I was involved in a rear-end collision as I sat at a red light at the intersection of Deltona and Northcliffe boulevards. The car behind me was pushed into my car after it was hit by another car. Looking in my side view mirror, I saw the woman's car coming over the hill at a high rate of speed and knew there was no way she was going to stop.
A combination of three things contributed to the crash: speed, rain and that darn hill on Deltona right before the Northcliffe traffic light. People come barrelling over that hill (going way faster than the posted speed limit) all the time. Since I travel that road pretty frequently, I pretty much knew it was just a matter of time before I would get hit. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
Transportation officials need to look at that spot and figure out how to flatten out that road so cars can see that traffic is stopped for the light. I can't be the only person who recognizes the danger there. I cannot believe that was not corrected when they widened Deltona!
If that is not a feasible solution, then perhaps installing a blinking yellow light before the hill, with a sign saying, "Prepare to stop." Whatever the resolution, this situation cannot continue to be ignored.
Everyone should slow down and pay attention to the road when driving a vehicle. This is the third time I've been rear-ended while stopped at a light, and it's really getting old!
Loretta Pizzo, Spring Hill
Gov. Scott's right to reject light rail | July 14, letter
Sources of funds misunderstood
It seems the letter writer does not understand where the money would have come from for the light rail project. I am not commenting on the actual rejection, but the misconception that the money is general fund money that has something to do with the federal deficit. That money was collected from gasoline taxes and goes into the transportation trust fund. It cannot be used for any other purpose other than transportation.
When we fill up our vehicles with motor fuel, we pay a certain amount of tax per gallon to both the federal and state governments. So instead of Florida getting 20,000 jobs and high-speed rail, the money went to other states for the same purpose. Perhaps it should have been rejected, that is not my point. If it was rejected because of the deficit, it really was the wrong misguided reason.
It is the same situation with the battle now in Congress about changing Medicare or Social Security. Neither of those trust funds added to the deficit. Those programs have been paying for years without using borrowed money. In fact, the general fund has borrowed from those funds, and now some in Congress want to forget about paying the money back. In other words, tax cuts for the rich are being paid for with money from seniors that has already been collected for Social Security and Medicare. Those in Congress that have already voted for these changes, and those that will do so, should understand seniors will not forget when election time comes.
Jon Knudson, Spring Hill