Effort's 1st 3 hours net 31 speeding drivers

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Troopers in Southwest Washington were in force Wednesday, catching 31 speeding drivers in their first day of increased enforcement for the holiday weekend.

West Coast troopers have joined in Arrive Alive on I-5, which aims for zero fatalities along Interstate 5 from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through the Thanksgiving weekend. Speeding is the focus, because it "is a leading cause in fatality collisions," said Washington State Patrol Trooper Will Finn.

With the help of a trooper in a plane, WSP troopers Wednesday covered the Ridgefield area and stopped 31 drivers between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., including a man who allegedly was going 102 mph, weaving between cars and following too close, Finn said. That driver, Josue A. Paredes-Merino, 18, of Vancouver was cited for second-degree negligent driving.

On Thursday, troopers worked a stretch of I-5 at Kalama. The number of speeding tickets and warnings issued was not available early Thursday evening, Finn said.

The three-state effort continues through Sunday.