Ԫ Criminals Make Laws

St. Ann Speed Cameras/When Criminals Make Laws

(Former) Missouri Stae Representative Michael Corcoran, District 77 (D -St. Ann)

"A Drunk Driving 'Tool for Union Thugs' introduced the legislation to allow a speed camera in St. Ann," said a man (who didn't want to be identified) leaving the St. Ann City Hall on a July afternoon. The man was referring to Missouri State Representative of District 77 Michael Corcoran, Democrat - St. Ann.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reproted that Representative Corcoran was charged in April, 2009 for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in February 2009. Representative Corcoran is the SPONSOR of House Bill No. 1947, which appears to ban the use of speed cameras, yet makes the exception that they may be used in school zones, construction zones or work zones.

The City of St. Ann holds a special traffic court in the middle of the afternoon for drivers caught speeding on Ashby Rd. in the school zone of Hoech Middle School. "There are so many people who have been cited in that trap, they have to hold a court in the middle of the afternoon," said the irate alledged violator. The man said that his offense was not during school hours and it was in the summer when school is out, so he didn't realize that the 'school zone' speed was in effect. He was told by the judge that the zone is a "park zone" at all times and year round. "Any kind of trick to prey on poor people," he said as he walked away.

RCE wondered how a legislator charged with a DWI could be making ANY laws at all, especially laws with regard to driving and safety. Michael Corcoran's attorney vowed to fight the charge in April of 2009. While there has been some correlation shown between speed and accidents, there is a more direct correlation between drunk driving and accidents, moreover drunk driving and deaths. Speed was a factor in 10 of the 19 fatal accidents on I-70 between St. Ann and Pine Lawn (deemed "the speed corridor") since January 2005, but alcohol or drug impairment contributed to 10 accidents in which someone was killed. It remains a mystery how the City of St. Ann came to the conclusion that it would be reasonable to impose an ordinance which was based on legislation sponsored by a man who had been charged a year earlier with the criminal offense of Driving While Intoxicated.

Corcoran, who is term limited in his current House seat, had planned a run for the 24th District seat of the Missouri State Senate, at the time occupied by Joan Bray, D-University City, who is also unable to run again due to term limits. Representative Corcoran had since pulled out of the Senate race. Some are of the opinion that he will go to work for St. Louis-based B&W Control Systems Integration, LLC, the company that provides the St. Ann speed camera and technology. St. Ann earns $60 on each of the $100 tickets issued by mail and B&W earns the other $40.

Traffic Camera Debate Continues

St. Ann's Police Chief Robert Schrader says that drivers are out of control with speeding on I-70 corridor between St. Ann and Pine Lawn. His and other municipalities are planning to crack down on speeders and likely double the fine for speeding in that zone, which is posted at 55MPH. Schrader says that he won't rule out the use of speed cameras on I-70 in the future.

Many people, including the St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch, feel that this is simply an attempt to institute speed cameras on I-70 in the corridor and "enhance revenues for these communities," Fitch wrote in a letter to state Rep. Steven Tilley, R-Perryville.

RiverCity X staff feel that if the idea is to actually slow speeders in the interest of safety, in our collective opinion, a more effective idea than tickets and speed cameras would be a simple posted warning at the front of both ends of the corridor: