LABOR DAY SAFETY

Labor Day stats:

- Tickets 12,994

- Accidents 129

- Fatalities 4

- Injuries 39

- DUI arrests 30

- Felony arrests 18

- No seat belt 243

* SOURCE: Miss. Highway Patrol

HED: Four killed in Labor Day accidents

BY DANZA JOHNSON

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Despite four accident fatalities statewide over the weekend, this Labor Day weekend was considered a very safe one.

Unlike Labor Day 2005, troopers didn’t have the distraction of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath on the Gulf Coast. Every highway patrolmen in the state was on the road this weekend and the nearly 13,000 tickets written showed they just weren’t riding around.

“We had a very successful holiday in terms of making sure we enforced the law to ensure safety,” said Troop F patrolman H.L. Kitchens. “We had four fatalities, which is better that the six we had last year, but that’s still too high. All in all, the weekend was very safe.”

Because of the a football-filled weekend, Kitchens said traffic was a bigger problem this year.

Kitchens said troopers were disappointed to write 243 tickets for no seat belt, under a new stricter law. Three of the four people killed in accidents weren’t restrained.

“People are just not getting it,” said Kitchens. “Seat belts save lives. To see 243 tickets written for not wearing one is ridiculous.”

Tupelo Police Patrol Division Commander Maj. Jackie Clayton said despite the overwhelming amount of traffic on the streets, Tupelo enjoyed a very safe holiday weekend.

“We had safety checkpoints set up all through town,” said Clayton. “We had our DUI Unit out and our Special Operations Group was out in force. We did everything we could do to make sure that the weekend was safe for everyone. This was a very busy holiday traffic wise, but we escaped it without fatalities and without serious injury.”

Contact Daily Journal law enforcement reporter Danza Johnson at 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com