The Northland Traffic Safety Task Force has conducted another sobriety checkpoint in memory of a victim of impaired driving. On September 25, 2015, the task force conducted a checkpoint in memory of Smithville native Ashley Miller.
Miller was 25 years old on October 15, 2012 when Logan T. Pope attempted to pass a vehicle in front of him and hit Miller head on 92 Highway just west of Smithville. Pope was under the influence of synthetic drugs when the crash occurred. Pope was sentenced to three years in prison pursuant to placement in an Institutional Treatment Center for 120 days.
Miller was a 2005 graduate of Smithville High School and had just begun a job with United Airlines when she was killed.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “It’s fitting that we recognize victims of impaired driving at these checkpoints, and even more appropriate that we shine a spotlight on the dangers of synthetic drugs. Ashley Miller was a wonderful young woman with an exciting new career whose life was cut tragically short. Hopefully, the enforcement and education efforts of this task force will spare other victims from a similar fate.”
The recent checkpoint was conducted in Platte County, just outside Smithville near 92 Highway and North Creek Road. It netted five arrests, two of which were for impaired driving.
The task force has a simple goal: reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries resulting from alcohol, drugs, or distracted driving. Comprised of 14 law enforcement agencies in Kansas City’s Northland together with the Missouri Department of Transportation, the task force has coordinated checkpoints in Clay and Platte Counties.
Many of those checkpoints have featured a poster with the picture a Platte or Clay County resident killed by impaired driving. Zahnd said the posters furthered the task force’s mission to reduce senseless death through education as well as enforcement.
The task force’s most important tool is increasing the number of sobriety checkpoints in the Northland. Funding from the Highway Safety Office of the Missouri Department of Transportation will pay for overtime for law enforcement officers working at checkpoints.
This year, the task force has conducted 17 sobriety checkpoints, yielding 64 DWI arrests.
Law enforcement agencies work together to hold checkpoints in their own communities and also staff checkpoints in other cities or counties.
Sobriety checkpoints typically require at least eight to twenty or more law enforcement officers, which is beyond the capability of many smaller cities in the Northland. The task force pools manpower and resources in an effort to spread checkpoints throughout the entire Northland.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Amy Ashelford, who was named the national Traffic Safety Prosecutor of the Year in 2014, helped organize the task force when it was created in 2013.
The agencies and partners currently participating in the task force include: Clay and Platte County Sheriff’s Departments; Clay and Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Offices; Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, Excelsior Springs Police Department; Gladstone Police Department; Kearney Police Department; Liberty Police Department; North Kansas City Police Department; Platte City Police Department; Platte Woods Police Department; Pleasant Valley Police Department; Riverside Police Department; Smithville Police Department; Missouri Department of Transportation.
The poster used at the checkpoint in Miller’s memory is above. If you need additional information, please contact our office’s media liaison, Jill Baker.
Eric G. Zahnd
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
415 Third Street, Suite 60
Platte City, Missouri 64079
(816) 858-3472 (fax)