Illinois State Police catching speeders from the sky

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COLLINSVILLE, IL, (KTVI) – All it takes is a stopwatch, a Cessna 182, and a fast car.

Illinois State Police are not only catching speeders on the ground, but also from a bird’s eye view.

The Air Speed detail involves a plane flying anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 feet in the air, a pilot, and a spotter to time lead-footed drivers as they travel between four-foot wide lines painted on the shoulder and the center line.

And on a sunny April morning, there were plenty of those drivers zipping by on Interstate 55 near Collinsville.

“We’ve been doing this since 9:30 this morning and it’s only been 45 minutes and we’ve already had ten drivers exceeding the speed limit by at least 15,” said Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. “We always have people speeding excessively especially in the morning when they are on their way to work.”

From the air, for Trooper Bill Skrobul and his co-pilot, it's easier to spot the aggressive drivers who change lanes erratically, follow too close, and pose the greatest risk on the road.

That way, officers on the ground don't have to race around to spot violators.

“They are not the normal white lines that you see on the road,” Skrobul said. “They are 660 feet apart and we use stop watches to time the cars through the zone that breaks down into seconds.”

“So 5.6 seconds is 80 miles an hour and that way we will call down to the cars on the ground, we will give them a color and a time speed, location and description to where they’re at, and we watch that car until they get pulled over.”

Fox 2 tagged along with Dye as he pulled over one of those speeders.

“Our airplane up there called you out and clocked you at going 86 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone,” said Dye, explaining to an 18-year-old female driver why she was being pulled over.

Dye said that the leading age for fatal crashes is in between 16 and 22 years of age.

“We’re not looking at this as issuing a ticket or a warning we’re looking at it as educating the public and letting them know what could happen if you are speeding excessively because we’re the ones who have to show up at the fatal crashes because the driver was driving way too fast,” said Dye.