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Through The Years … Grit – December 31, 1967: Police Order ‘Crackdown’ as Road Deaths Mount

The addition of 10 troopers — 9 recent graduates of the state police academy will augment the traffic patrols in the 9-county area of Troop F over the New Year’s weekend.

The increase follows Commissioner Frank McKetta’s orders to crack down on all violations of the traffic laws this weekend, especially drinking drivers and speeders. Every trooper has been instructed to enforce the law to its fullest with no leniency for speeders or drunk drivers.

“We will have more men on the highway this coming weekend due to the increase of 10 troopers,” said Lt. John Heffelstein, presently in charge of the Montoursville-based troop. “These men will be assigned to traffic duty and will augment the men stationed here.”

Radar will be used on all three shifts, especially the midnight patrols. These have been increased and during the weekend eight men will patrol after midnight.

All troopers have been alerted to the drinking drivers since bars area allowed to be open this Sunday.

Particular attention will be paid to vehicles operating faulty equipment. If any are found then operators will be prosecuted and the vehicles removed from the highway.

City Police Chief Joseph Longo said about 30 men will be on duty for each shift during the holiday period.

So far 32 persons have died in traffic accidents in the city and Lycoming County during 1967, a decrease of three from last year, when a record number of 35 fatalities occurred.

City road deaths number five, matching last year’s figure and one less than 1965.

This year’s total matches the 32 deaths traffic deaths recorded in 1958 as the third highest number on record. Thirty-three highway deaths were recorded in 1957.

Lowest totals in the 11-year span were recorded in 1961 and 1962, each year listing 18 traffic deaths.

Traffic deaths totaled 33 in 1957, 32 in 1958, 25 in 1959, 27 in 1960, 18 in 1961, 18 in 1962, 29 in 1963, 22 in 1964, 30 in 1965, and 35 in 1966.

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