Drivers passing through Washington County on Hwy. 36 will see an increased law enforcement presence on Wednesday. They'll be on the lookout for distracted drivers.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota State Patrol and other agencies will be on patrol to "keep people's mind on the road versus on their phones or whatever else they are distracted with," said Sgt. Brad Marquardt.

Cities along Hwy. 36 include Stillwater, Oak Park Heights, Lake Elmo and Pine Springs.

Wednesday's distracted driving detail is part of a two-day crackdown and education effort. It comes after a horrific crash back in February when a trucker allegedly on his phone slammed into the back of a vehicle stopped at a traffic signal at Hwy. 36 and Lake Elmo Avenue. The crash killed Robert J. Bursik, a beloved biology professor at North Hennepin Community College.

"Please avoid distracted driving," a notice announcing Wednesday's effort posted on the sheriff's office Facebook page. "No text message or other distraction is worth the consequences of driving while distracted."

Sheriff Dan Starry has stated in the past that reducing the number of people who drive distracted is a top priority in the east metro county.

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