Sheriff discusses reduction of U.S. 10 crashes, elimination of gun board at GOP picnic.

September 13, 2015
Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief. 

PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — The amount of traffic crashes on U.S. 10 between Ludington and Scottville that have resulted in serious injuries has dropped over the past year, according to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. Cole spoke Sunday afternoon at the Mason County Republican picnic and said left-turn lights have played a role in making U.S. 10 safer.

Cole said he conducted a study on traffic crashes between 2003 and 2013. In that 10 year period, there were 67 crashes that resulted in 87 critical injuries, plus seven crashes that resulted in eight fatalities; which averages to 6.7 crashes per year that resulted in 8.7 critical injuries. Cole said the majority of the crashes were head-on crashes resulting in one of the vehicles attempting to make a left turn. Since the installation of left turn phase lights, beginning March 2014, there have been two crashes that have resulted in three critical injuries and no fatalities.

Cole said making the U.S. 10 five-lane highway (also known as the “corridor”) safer was a campaign promise of his when he ran for office in 2012. He said he worked with local officials and the Michigan Department of Transportation to have the lights installed.

Cole also discussed the upcoming elimination of the local gun board. He told the audience that while most conservatives have supported the elimination of local gun boards he was opposed. He pointed out that 101st District State Representative Ray Franz (R-Onekama), who was in attendance at the picnic, voted against eliminating the boards based on Cole’s recommendation.

“I know Ray took some heat for that from the party,” Cole said. “However, in my opinion taking away local gun boards is just giving that much more power to the state and less to local governments.”

The current gun board consists of the county sheriff, county prosecutor and a representative from the Michigan State Police. The board meets once a month in an open meeting and goes over applicants for concealed weapons permits. Cole said it’s a rare occasion that a CPL license is denied. Under new legislation, CPL applications will be approved by the state police.

Franz noted that the licensing fees will also now double.