Speeders clocked driving 50+ mph in Largo 35 mph zone

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – A Largo resident was worried about speeders in her neighborhood, so she contacted WFLA News Channel 8’s Leslee Lacey.

Cindy Balkema told Leslee that she has lived on Belleair Road for 15 years. Her house lies just west of Lake Avenue, in between Highland Avenue and Keene Road.

Cindy is concerned someone is going to get hurt if speeders aren’t soon held accountable for going too fast.

“People drive through here like there is no speed limit at all. I see some that I think to myself, ‘Oh you’re doing 50’,” said Cindy.

So, Leslee and Cindy began speed busting. Leslee quickly caught a driver traveling at 51 mph, and caught another one driving 54 mph. The speed limit is 35 mph. Cindy caught a driver doing 48 mph.

Cindy says she has complained to the Largo Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, but she has not noticed any enforcement. She says the Largo Police Department is the closest to her, but she’s confused about which agency has jurisdiction since her house is zoned for the county.

So, Leslee did some digging to find out who has jurisdiction along Belleair Road between Highland Avenue and Keene Road, which is the area where she was speed busting.

It turns out that Belleair Road’s jurisdiction boundaries look like a game of leap-frog outside Cindy’s house.

You would need to draw a line down the center of the road to see just how it works. Heading westbound, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction from Keene Road to Lake Avenue, then the City of Largo takes over for a few addresses.

Heading in the opposite direction, Largo has control at the southeast corner of Highland Avenue, then the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office takes over until Lake Avenue, which would include Cindy’s home. Then after Lake Avenue, jurisdiction goes back to Largo.

After speaking with law enforcement officials, they agreed, it was a bit confusing.

Cindy told Leslee she has seen little enforcement outside her home, and has never seen anyone with a radar gun.

Leslee discovered over the last six months both the Largo Police Department and the sheriff’s office had not issued one speeding citation on Belleair Road between Highland Avenue and Keene Road.

Largo police did issue several speeding citations on surrounding streets which connect to this stretch, but not on Belleair Road.

Leslee asked Cindy what she would like to say to the sheriff’s office and to Largo police.

Cindy replied, “Where are you? Why aren’t you out here giving these people tickets? Do we have to wait for someone to get hurt before you do something about it?”

Leslee spoke with Pinellas County Sheriff ‘s Office spokesperson Dan DiFrancesco, who promised to create a directed patrol there. Leslee also spoke with Sergeant Ann Sterling with the Largo Police Department.

She was immediately proactive and ordered a speed patrol that same day.

Sterling said two citations were given to drivers going 50 mph. Cindy was thrilled to see the unmarked vehicle snagging speeders. Sgt. Sterling said her department will also complete a speed study on the roadway and forward the results to the county, who will continue to periodically bump up enforcement, and has personally reached out to Cindy.

If you have a trouble area where speeders are making you nervous, contact Leslee on her “WFLALeslee” Facebook page and she will bring Speed Busters to your neighborhood.

Follow Leslee Lacey on Facebook



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