Metro-East News

See a semi pulled over? State police run enforcement period in honor of fallen trooper

If it seems Illinois State Police have more semis than usual pulled to the side of the road Wednesday, it's be because troopers are making an extra effort to do so.

Law enforcement officers do not need a reason to pull over a semi truck, Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. said.

"That's the one vehicle on the roadway we don't have to have a reason to stop," he added. "We don't have to have probable cause; we can stop them just to inspect their truck."

This is the fifth year that Illinois State Police have had a "special enforcement detail" in honor of Trooper James Sauter, who was killed on March 28, 2013 when his squad car was struck by a semi truck on I-294, which bypasses Chicago.

Specifically, troopers will review that commercial motor vehicle drivers are properly licensed, the equipment is safe and their logbooks are complete. Drivers are restricted to 70 hours of driving per week and must log how often they drive.

In the first nine hours, troopers in St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, Bond and Clinton counties stopped 19 trucks and issued "several" warnings and tickets, mostly for equipment and logbook violations, Dye said.

"This is all-hand-on-deck enforcement. Troopers who usually have office responsibilities are out of the office also," Dye said.

The spokesman for District 13, which covers Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Washington and Williamson counties, said troopers there had done 43 inspections by about 9 a.m.

"I did a couple trucks this morning," wrote Trooper Josh Haile. "And will grab a few more this afternoon."

Last year, state troopers conducted more than 1,400 checks during "Operation Sauter."

Last year, a driver of a tractor-trailer who was under the influence of alcohol managed to drive from Springfield to Troy before Illinois State Police stopped him., according to police. He was charged with two counts of DUI and received five tickets.

In 2012, the driver of a tractor-trailer struck and killed Illinois State Police officer Kyle Deatherage. The driver, Johnny B. Felton Jr., was later charged and received probation after agreeing to a plea deal.

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535, @MaryCooleyBND