110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Joe Crews
posted Jul 11, 2013 - 10:31:26am
Along with guns and billy clubs, officers of the law have another tool in their fight against crime: the seat-belt stop.
Since 2009, police have been free to stop motorists for no other reason than failure to wear a seat belt.
"A driver could be doing everything right, except for his seat belt, and we can stop him for that," Cmdr. Jason Sampsell of the Orange City Police Department said. "And stops can lead to other things. I've found guns or drugs after stopping a vehicle and talking with the driver."
In DeLand, two attempted seat-belt stops over the course of nine months triggered events that led to two deaths. One of the two was 17 years old.
Both individuals, instead of responding to officers' lights and sirens by stopping, fled in their vehicles. Both incidents happened in the predominantly African-American Spring Hill neighborhood of DeLand, and both men were black.
In May, a Volusia County sheriff's deputy tried to pull over 38-year-old Marlon Brown for not wearing a seat belt. Brown was killed shortly thereafter, struck by a DeLand police cruiser that was pursuing him.
What do the statistics on seat-belt violations reveal?
Find this out and more, in the July 11-14 Weekend edition of The Beacon. To subscribe to The Beacon online, click here. For a list of newsstand locations, click here. To have the print edition mailed to your home twice a week, send your address via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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