Traffic Heavy, Infractions Light Over Labor Day


When DPS Sgt. John Whetten began seeing traffic back up Friday afternoon, he knew the Rim country was in for a busy Labor Day weekend.

"We knew when there was traffic backed up going northbound Friday at Sunflower, it was going to be bad," Whetten said. "That usually doesn't happen too often."

While in the Rim country, tourists were relatively well mannered, according to local law enforcement officials.

"There was a lot of people in town," said Police Chief Gordon Gartner, "but,there wasn't really anything too out of the ordinary --just the usual mixture of calls and traffic."

The same held true for folks out in Sheriff's Department patrols.

"It was busier than hell," said Lt. Oran Shear, "but it was mostly minor stuff --fender-benders, domestics, reports of shots being fired out in the forest. It kept us running."

DPS Officer Bill Murphy responded to one of the more noteworthy accidents Monday morning, when a motorhome rolled over near Rye.

"The right front tire blew out," Murphy said, "which caused the driver to exit the road on the right, where it tripped and overturned onto its left side and went through a chainlink frontage road fence."

The officer said injuries were minor, and the accident was cleared off the road within an hour.

Later that morning, the Labor Day mass exodus began earlier than normal, Whetten said.

"Usually on a busy holiday weekend, the backups begin around 1 p.m.," he said. "Monday, they started leaving around 11:15 a.m."

With DPS officers assisting from the Globe area, Whetten said the Beeline Highway was cleared by 8:30 p.m.

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