Interstate shootings continue in Memphis despite Tennessee Highway Patrol’s increased presence

Memphis interstate shootings continue despite increased THP presence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shootings on the interstate continue to be an issue in Memphis as law enforcement tries to prevent them from occurring.

Another shooting last week brought the issue back to the forefront.

The most recent interstate shooting injured a man as he drove on I-240. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says they have more troopers on Memphis roads but these shootings are nearly impossible to prevent.

“Our main goal is to save lives,” said Sgt. Chris Richardson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “That’s what we come down there for, to do what we need to do, make sure people get home alright.”

A string of interstate shootings earlier in the year caught the attention of Memphis Police as well as Tennessee Highway Patrol who used Operation Grizzly to focus on speeding drivers and preventing future interstate shootings.

Last Wednesday, Memphis Police responded to the 61st shooting on a local interstate so far this year.

Richardson says interstate shootings are particularly hard to predict and prevent because they are often a case of road rage.

“We have no idea where it’s coming from. When you look at the map, it’s from everywhere,” said Richardson. “Just all around the loop there.”

In September the Memphis City Council passed a resolution requesting Gov. Bill Lee to send more troopers to patrol the interstates allowing Memphis police to focus on crime in the community.

“I can’t remember the last time I saw a state trooper anywhere in the city that wasn’t near I-40 and Arlington,” said Memphis City Councilman Chase Carlisle.

Richardson says more troopers have been patrolling in the area for weeks now, and they have seen some success.

“We’re writing tickets, we’re making arrests,” said Richardson. “We’ve made drug cases and we found all kind of things that we shouldn’t find out there.”

Richardson’s best advice to Memphis drivers is to drive cautiously and specifically avoid driving too slow in the left lane to help prevent a road rage incident.

“We’ll be down there so in the meantime, Memphis drivers just be safe,” said Richardson.

According to Memphis Police, only six of this year’s 61 interstate shootings have been solved.

The man shot last Wednesday is expected to be OK.

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