Decoy patrol car slows down drivers on Kitsap highway

Herald staff

BREMERTON — The speed of rush-hour traffic near Gorst, at the tip of Sinclair Inlet where Washington 16 meets Washington 3, drops an average 15 percent when troopers station a decoy Washington State Patrol car there.

Even though there’s no trooper inside.

Since July, the patrol has parked a decoy at several Gorst sites during peak traffic times, monitoring the results from an unmarked car down the road.

Drivers’ average speed dropped from 48.7 mph without the decoy to 41.4 mph with the decoy in place, Trooper Glen Tyrrell said. The speed limit is 40 mph.

"It’s working great," he said.

The car is a decommissioned vehicle that hasn’t been stripped yet, Tyrrell said. Troopers park it at the start of rush hour and take it away later the same day.

On some occasions, the decoy gets backup from troopers issuing tickets.

"The kicker in this is we don’t always have a decoy car there," Tyrrell said. "A lot of times, we’re using live cars."

The patrol is trying decoys around the state to see if a visible presence deters speeding, he said.

  • Crash in stolen Lexus proves fatal: A carjacker driving a stolen blue Lexus collided with another vehicle Friday near Safeco Field, fatally injuring the other car’s driver. A man pulled a handgun on a Lexus driver about 4 p.m. Friday at Occidental Avenue S. and S. King Street, jumped in the car when the driver got out and sped off, police said. The stolen car ran a red light and collided with a second car a short time later at 20th Avenue S. and S. Jackson Street, police spokesman Sean O’Donnell said. The carjacker jumped from his car and ran away but was caught by police, who also recovered a gun he dropped during the foot chase. The 19-year-old man was arrested and taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of a minor head injury, O’Donnell said. The man critically injured in the collision was also taken to Harborview, but died in surgery, a nursing supervisor said. He was not immediately identified. Police did not immediately identify the arrested man or the Lexus owner. The carjacking was unrelated to the Seattle Mariners’ game played Friday afternoon at Safeco Field, O’Donnell said.

  • Teen pleads innocent in child rape case: A 17-year-old accused of having sex with a 12-year-old Mercer Island girl has pleaded innocent to second-degree child rape. Christopher Shelley appeared Friday in King County Superior Court for the first time since a judge ruled the teen will be prosecuted as an adult. He remains in jail with bail set at $250,000. A trial date could be set at his next court appearance Oct. 19. According to court documents, Shelley manipulated the girl into having sex with him last spring. At the time he was classified as a sex offender because of a previous conviction for raping a 5-year-old boy.

  • Tests find E. coli near Kaiser plant: State health officials have ordered Kaiser Aluminum Corp.’s Tacoma plant to boil drinking water after routine water-system tests turned up coliform and E. coli bacteria. Kaiser, which normally provides its own water from two wells at the Port of Tacoma plant site, was ordered to take preventive measures after the problem was detected in September, a Health Department spokesman said Thursday. No illnesses were reported at the plant, which is providing bottled water for employees. The source of the contamination has not yet been determined, said Derek Pell, regional engineer at the department’s drinking-water office in Kent. Possibilities included Kaiser’s wells and its water-storage tank, which was being drained and cleaned inside as a precaution.
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