PHIPPSBURG POLICE CHIEF John Skroski is stepping up speed patrols on Route 209 using a new 2013 Ford Police Interceptor.

PHIPPSBURG POLICE CHIEF John Skroski is stepping up speed patrols on Route 209 using a new 2013 Ford Police Interceptor.


Police Chief John Skroski had just issued a written warning to a man for driving 43 mph in a 30-mph zone on Route 209 near the Bath line.

Even 43 mph is a problem, Skroski explained, because there are many homes in that stretch, and people must enter the curvy roadside from driveways.

Soon after Skroski had turned back toward the village, another vehicle grabbed his attention. The chief watched a pickup truck whiz by not far from the site of an accident near Clifford Road in which a man and a child were injured a week ago.

“That’s a bad spot, and he kept going,” Skroski said as he pulled the pickup over. “He didn’t attempt to slow down.”

Skroski knew who the man was. So, apparently, did others in law enforcement.

As he radioed in for information, Skroski learned that the man behind the wheel had 37 convictions for driving violations — the last on Jan. 13.

Looks like that’s now 38.

“If he had no convictions, I might have given him a break,” Skroski said. “But think about that number of convictions compared to the number of times he’s gotten away with this.

“I don’t think people realize there’s a lot of people like him driving around out there.”

As Skroski got back into his vehicle, someone in a small green car passed by — the same green car he had stopped for criminal speed not long ago.

This time, the driver of the little green car was traveling at a much slower pace. No traffic stop necessary.

Skroski says that’s fine with him.

“There’s no joy in issuing a ticket,” he said. “We’d like voluntary compliance instead of tickets, because this hurts people. But we will ticket if we have to. We’ve just noticed the past couple of weeks some really high speeds.

“There’s a very dangerous type of operation going on that leads to accidents or even fatalities, and we don’t want that. We’ve had complaints of an Audi speeding on the southern end of 209. Maybe it’s spring fever. The only satisfaction is in the hope that you might change that pattern of behavior.”

Skroski said he encounters lots of speeders along the straight stretch of Route 209 near Drummer Bay.

“Spring is here,” he said. “People need to slow down. We don’t want to see crashes.”

Soon, the Phippsburg Police Department will help people slow down without stopping them.

They will install a speed trailer on loan from the Sagadahoc County Sheriff ’s Department along a downhill stretch near the Sportsman’s Club where the limit is 45 mph.

Phippsburg police do not use a quota system. “We call it as we see it,” Skroski said.

As Memorial Day approaches and people begin flocking to Popham Beach, he said speeding begins to become less of a problem — mostly because of heavier traffic.

Then it becomes tailgating, and people making illegal passes.

“I just picked up someone going 70-plus in a 50 while passing,” Skroski said.


STATE FINES for speeding
— 1-9 mph above the limit:
— 10-14 mph: $137
— 15-19 mph: $183
— 20-24 mph: $215
— 25-29 mph: $263
— 30+: adjudicated by a judge

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