One of 22 drivers cited in a Manteca Police sting Monday morning for failing to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks had a medical reason for not being able to stop – his right foot was in a brace and his leg needed to be elevated.
Manteca Police motorcycle officer Patrick Danipour said he was stunned when he approached the 1993 Honda Civic that he pulled over on North Cottage Avenue where the roadway approaches the Highway 99 overcrossing.
Joshua Furtado, 18, of San Jose, had his right leg resting on the dashboard of the car – his excuse for not stopping at the painted crossing at Glenn Drive. Neighbors were quick to note that no one stops for people at that crosswalk when officers are not present.
One woman who has walked daily through the neighborhood for months said the traffic coming down Cottage Avenue from the freeway overcrossing never stops for her when she has tried to cross the roadway. She complained that the drivers see her and just stare as they drive by. She said one woman motorist came close to striking her at the corner when she moved down to North Street to cross with the light.
Officers were quick to react earlier when a 1989 Chevy truck violated the right-of-way of reserve officer Eugene Estrella at Garfield and Yosemite avenues in front of Manteca High School. MHS school resource officer April Smith gave chase and the driver, Jose Murillo, 23, of Yuma, Arizona made a quick turn into a furniture store parking lot across from the high school.
Sensing the motorist was fleeing for another reason, Smith immediately called for backup and other officers drove in behind the pickup where the driver was found with half a quart of beer in the cab. Traffic officer David Bright administered a roadside sobriety test and arrested Murillo for drinking and driving and having a blood alcohol level of above .008.
The officers set up sting locations at Yosemite Avenue and the intersections of Sherman, Garfield, Pierce and Locust avenues. They also were staged at Center Street and Sycamore Avenue and Cottage Avenue and Glenn Drive. An additional nine citations were also issued for speed, running a stop sign and talking on cell phones.
As motorcycle officer Patrick Danipour sat under the shade of a tree at Sycamore Avenue and Center Street one motorist drove through the boulevard stop across the street from his location. He gave pursuit and pulled the driver over near the Post Office. The driver readily admitted he was in too much of a hurry because he was late for work on the other side of town.
The decoys were visibly going out of their way to give drivers every chance to stop as they walked across the streets, however several motorists had called the police department to complain that the decoys were darting across the road in front of them which did not occur in front of a Bulletin reporter who was on the scene for over two hours.
There were 28 citations issued last Monday in many of the same locations throughout the community. Detective Sergeant Jody Estarziau said that several motorists were yelling at the people in the crosswalks last week to get out of their way. Estarziau said once again that all the pedestrians walked across the streets only when there was a safe distance for drivers to see them and to be able to react safely and stop in a safe distance.
Officers said the penalty for a crosswalk violation is about $150. That is in addition to court costs that are added to the offense.
The sting operation is being funded by the Office of Traffic Safety and the California Department of Public Health along with the National Highway Transportation Administration.