Tri-City law enforcement agencies spent two weeks on extra patrols looking for unbuckled motorists and also ended up citing numerous drivers for cellphone violations, speeding and not having insurance.
During the Night Time "Click it or Ticket" campaign, May 21 to June 3, officers in Benton and Franklin counties wrote 133 seat-belt violation tickets, said officials with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
They also made one DUI arrest, and cited 32 drivers for speeding and 16 for talking or texting on their cellphones.
Five people were arrested on misdemeanor warrants, 15 drivers received citations for not properly restraining their children, eight drivers had suspended or revoked licenses and 43 drivers had no proof of insurance.
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Tri-City law enforcement agencies, including the Washington State Patrol, were among 124 police departments and sheriff's office across the state that participated in the extra seat belt patrols.
In the 10 years since the seat belt law became a primary offense, allowing police to stop drivers for not using proper restraints, seat belt use has increased to92.6 percent, from 82.6 percent, traffic safety officials said.
Traffic deaths on state roads also have dropped29 percent in the same time, while serious-injury crashes have fallen 28 percent.
Studies show seat belt use decreases the chance of dying in a crash by 60 percent and reduces the risk of a head injury by 80 percent, officials said.
Man sought for failing to appear at sentencing
Kennewick police are looking for a felon who bailed out of a car during a traffic stop Thursday because he has warrants for skipping out on his sentencing for possessing meth.
William "Butch" D'Addario, 42, was a passenger in a car that was stopped Thursday morning near Fourth Avenue and Tacoma Street, police said.
Officers were conducting a routine traffic stop when D'Addario jumped outand took off.
Police surrounded the area and temporarily had Fourth Avenue blocked from Tacoma to Vancouver streets while they searched for him.
A Kennewick police dog unit also was called out to try to track him, but D'Addario was not found.
He is 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
He is wanted for failing to appear for sentencing on two counts of possession of methamphetamine.
Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers pays a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that results in a felony arrest.
Anyone with information about D'Addario's whereabouts can call 586-8477 or go to www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org. Tips also can be sent by text message by writing "Text TIP 411" plus the message to CRIMES (274637).
All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org