Several motorists in Minnesota were caught driving more than 100 miles per hour during the state’s latest intensified speed-limit enforcement, with the fastest of the fast being a pair of motorcyclists roaring along a county road skirting Rochester at 135 miles per hour.
Give ’em credit — the guys had on their helmets.
During the statewide annual enforcement effort from July 10-26, law enforcement wrote 16,410 speeding tickets and tossed in another 2,101 seat-belt citations for good measure, according to data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS). Those are just a touch below the 2014 numbers for the same “gotcha” effort last summer.
What caught authorities’ attention this time around was what the DPS called “disturbing driving behaviors,” such as:
• A motorist stopped for drunken driving at 100 mph in Dakota County.
• A motorcyclist with a suspended license traveling 106 mph in a 65-mph zone in Carver County.
• In Perham, a child was in the back seat, not properly restrained, while the driver was traveling 100 mph. Drug paraphernalia was also found in the vehicle.
And now, about those “crotch rocket” jockeys.
Olmsted County Sheriff’s Capt. Vince Scheckel said he took his post early in the afternoon on July 18 and trained his eyes and his “lidar” gun — it measures speed with a light beam — for the task at hand.
“First I heard them, I could hear them coming, and then I saw them,” Scheckel said of the side-by-side motorcycling tandem, identified as Dara Srey, 28, and Sarith Thuo, 31, both of Rochester. “I was able to lock in the speed, 135.3 for one of them.”
Scheckel said he was grateful that “when they saw me, they immediately slowed down and stopped. … Usually, [motorcycles going that fast] know they can probably get away.”
From that point, the stop on northbound E. Circle Drive, just north of County Road 9, was pretty routine. They were licensed for motorcycle operation and helmets were on.
The captain said he asked one of the men whether he knew how fast he was going, and “he told me he was not going to look down” at his speedometer.
One of the two explained that he “had just put new parts on his motorcycle and wanted to try them out,” said Scheckel, who added that he’s never encountered speeders going so fast in his 21 years in law enforcement.
Scheckel gave tickets to Srey and Thuo and sent them on their way. A court appearance, scheduled for Aug. 26, is mandatory because they topped the 55-mph limit by such a large amount on the four-lane road. The two also risk losing their licenses because they were clocked in triple digits.
Phone and text messages were left for the two Tuesday, just in case there was more they wanted to say.