South Bethany discusses speed, house height

Date Published: 
August 15, 2014

Although the speed limit through the portion of Route 1 in South Bethany is 35 miles per hour, some travelers disregard that limit.

On July 10, the driver was spotted speeding while headed southbound on Route 1 — at 103 mph. At last Friday’s South Bethany Town Council meeting, South Bethany police officer Marlon Miller, who was on duty at the time, was presented with a certificate of commendation for his professionalism during the high-speed pursuit.

“He obtained a description of the car, which is pretty good, considering the car was going 103. You’re lucky to see taillights go by,” said SBPD Lt. Troy Crowson of Miller. “He radioed down to the next agency, and they were able to stop him.”

Miller contacted the Fenwick Island Police Department and alerted them of the vehicle headed their way.

“They had set up at the end of town. The car had turned down a side street, down what was a dead end,” said Crowson of the driver’s apprehension.

Crowson noted that the speeding driver had no other issues, such as a suspended license or a warrant out for his arrest.

“He didn’t want to get a ticket. So he decided to turn down a side street and try to avoid being pulled over. He didn’t have any issues… just made a bad decision. And I think he’ll pay for it.”

The driver was not only cited for driving at excessive speeds but arrested for attempting to elude an officer.

Crowson said that, although having drivers try to speed through South Bethany is not uncommon, this particular rate of speed was unusual.

Miller, who previously served with the Ocean View Police Department, joined the South Bethany PD in June as a part-time officer.

“We’re lucky to have him,” said Crowson.

During Friday evening’s meeting, speeding was further addressed after a resident asked whether the police department could employ speed cameras to directly issue tickets.

Crowson said that, currently, the State of Delaware does not have legislation that governs speed cameras, and therefore the Town could not use them.

He noted that legislation has been proposed for a two-year pilot program to be used by Dover and Wilmington police; however, the legislation has yet to pass the state senate.

The SBPD is, he added, attempting to obtain one or two radar-detecting devices, which would record evidence of speeding or non-speeding. Crowson said the devices would be wireless, and the department would be able to move them to various locations throughout town.

“It’ll basically tell us where our speeding problems are in town,” he said, adding that the devices would give the department historical data, such as the best times to enforce and where speed-related problems most occur.

In other South Bethany news:

• Crowson said that 20 of the Town’s road signs have been stolen. While some signs have been replaced, others are still in the process of replacement, due to the Town not having duplicates.

“It sounds like they’re trying to create a town in their bedroom,” said Mayor Pat Voveris.

Crowson told the council the department was actively pursuing apprehending the individual or individuals responsible for stealing the signs.

• Public judging in the fourth annual Adopt-A-Canal/Road End Beauty Contest begins Aug. 22 and will conclude Sept. 1. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded to the adopters whose ends receive the most votes, courtesy of Lord’s Landscaping. Those who wish to cast their votes for the contest winners may do so online at southbethany.org/canal.

• The council voted 5-0, with Councilman Tony Caputo absent and Councilman Tim Saxton abstaining, to approve an ordinance to amend Chapter 145 to increase the maximum house height allowed where freeboard is provided. The change is being made with an eye toward encouraging property owners to move their homes higher off the ground, as a way to reduce problems related to flooding.