On Friday, August 11, 2023, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Troopers working in an active school zone at Freedom Shores Elementary School observed a vehicle speeding; however, after pulling over the driver, a drug discovery became the focus.
According to the August 17 press release from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, troopers observed a red BMW driving 37 mph in the school zone around approximately 2 pm. The school zone designated sign was flashing its lights, posting that the speed limit was 20 mph within the listed zone.
As the vehicle passed the patrol vehicle and reduced its speed, the Trooper initiated a traffic stop, identifying the driver as Jairo Jaile La Parra of Boynton Beach, Florida. Upon approach of the vehicle, a recognizable odor of marijuana was detected, and the Trooper could see a box of THC vapes in plain sight on the rear passenger seat.
La Parra confirmed he had marijuana in the vehicle after questioning from the officer. Troopers then placed La Parra under arrest, transporting him to Palm Beach County Jail on the following charges:
As stated in the release, not only was this individual driving over the speed limit in a school zone, but he was also in possession of drugs appearing to be aimed at children and admitted the purpose of having them was to sell them.
“With a new school year beginning, it is important we talk to our children about the dangers of drugs and keep an eye out to protect them." said, Attorney General Ashley Moody, "Remember, please slow down in school zones and look out for children at bus stops. Stay safe, Florida.”
Within the first week of many Florida schools opening their doors, some Florida counties have seen speeding, crashes, and other reckless driving behaviors despite the increased presence of FHP and other law enforcement agencies' efforts to enforce safety in school zones.
In just a week there were over 400 citations issued for excessive speed, school zone texting, and failure to stop for a school bus, there have also been almost 15 traffic crashes in school zones and 13 crashes involving school buses outside of a school zone.
What does the FHP say we can do?
For additional safety tips, resources, and data related to child safety, visit the FLHSMV Child Safety webpage and see the recent press release discussing Child Safety Awareness Month here: FLHSMV Prioritizes Education and Awareness of Child Safety This August - Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Article by Rachael Volpe