Man in the mirror: drivers stopped the night of Michael Jackson tribute |

Man in the mirror: drivers stopped the night of Michael Jackson tribute

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The man in the mirror of some Michael Jackson fans driving to a Saturday performance of the Utah Symphony could have been a police officer.

And the fans might have preferred the officer just beat it.

The Park City Police Department, continuing a stretch of aggressive traffic patrols, targeted the road leading to Snow Park Lodge Saturday evening. The police were on patrol at about the same time drivers were probably heading to Snow Park for a symphony concert featuring songs by the late pop star Michael Jackson.

The concert was billed as a 7:30 p.m. start. Gates were scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. The traffic stops along Deer Valley Drive began at a little before 6 p.m. and ended at about 6:50 p.m., putting the police in position as many people holding symphony tickets would have been on their way to Snow Park.

Police logs show that the traffic stops were generally at or close to the intersection of Deer Valley Drive and Rossi Hill Drive. The location is just east of the Old Town roundabout and along the route most drivers take to Snow Park.

The Police Department said there were not special traffic patrols set up for the performance. Instead, people in the neighborhood had requested stepped-up enforcement, the police said.

"I’m not aware of any kind of enforcement for the concert," Phil Kirk, the police captain who oversees the patrol division, said on Monday.

He said the police had not received complaints about the patrols along Deer Valley Drive that night.

Police logs indicated officers pulled over 12 drivers in a 62-minute stretch — approximately one every five minutes — between 5:46 p.m. and 6:48 p.m. Nearly all of the stops were at the Deer Valley Drive-Rossi Hill Drive intersection. One was on Stonebridge Circle, a small street off Deer Valley Drive.

It is not known whether the people who were pulled over were headed to the symphony, but the traffic along Deer Valley Drive between the roundabout and Snow Park is usually especially heavy with concert-goers on nights of performances.

All but one of the drivers received a warning. The other was ticketed for speeding and a vehicle-registration violation.

Kirk said the stretch of Deer Valley Drive close to Rossi Hill Drive will continue to be a priority for traffic patrols based on neighborhood requests. Other places on the priority list include:

  • Marsac Avenue
  • Meadows Drive
  • the Holiday Ranch Loop Road-Red Maple Court intersection
  • the Lucky John Drive-American Saddler Drive intersection
  • the Bonanza Drive-Prospector Avenue intersection
  • the Comstock Drive-Sidewinder Drive intersection

    The traffic stops the night of the performance continued an aggressive stretch of patrols by the Police Department. The department last week stopped at least 83 drivers, including those in the period before the performance, according to police logs. At least 26 traffic stops were reported on a single day in the week before.

    "We’re not looking for any specific number," Kirk said, adding, "We’re trying to do our best to make it safe and save lives."

    Some of the concentrations of traffic stops last week included during the morning of July 15 on major streets in Prospector and during the evening of July 12 on or close to Kearns Boulevard.

    Kirk said traffic patrols are a higher priority in the nice weather, when there are numerous pedestrians and bicyclists using the roads alongside drivers. The majority of people who are pulled over are given warnings. Kirk said officers typically write tickets to people who are repeatedly pulled over or who were driving well above the speed limit.

    Speeding drivers have long been one of the chief complaints to the Police Department. The police have responded to the concerns with increased patrols, digital speed trailers and other measures to combat speeding.

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