By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A car plunged into a murky canal Tuesday night in Miramar at Miramar Blvd and University, after investigators say the driver was speeding, blew through a stop sign then sank underwater. The man inside died.

Police told CBS4 News they are catching a lot of speeders lately, especially in the straight away on Miramar Parkway and 129th Ave. One driver was clocked at 80 in a 45. They’ve nabbed people going over 100.

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“Speed is really deadly and we’re seeing that here,” said Sgt. Troy Wilson who is in the Traffic Division. He says speeding is a problem nationwide – and COVID is likely making it worse.

“I think it has to do with the roadways by people telecommuting and not using the roadways,” he said, “So there’s more roadway space available for less amount of vehicles and it just gives people the opportunity to open up their cars and travel at higher speeds than we’ve ever seen before,” he said.

In Miramar, there were 5 deadly crashes in 2019.

In 2020, when COVID hit hard, the number doubled to 10 and this year there are 7 so far, on the way to possibly beating last year’s total.

“Over 60% of our traffic crashes so far this year are directly linked back to speed. Speed is killing people for no reason on our roadway,” Sgt. Wilson said.

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The Chance family knows all too well how deadly speeding can be.

Horrific surveillance video from January of 2020 shows Margaret Chance, the mother of 5, hit by a car on SR 7 that police say was doing more than 80 miles per hour, possibly racing.

“She just left work driving, alive and well,” her sister Annette Chance cried at a news conference in February and 2020, “and someone just took her life, took her away from us. It’s not easy,” she sobbed.

Javier Icaza lost both of his parents on SW 136th Ave in August of last year. “My father was driving, took a turn to go on a road and a person who was drunk driving going 100 miles per hour hits them,” Icaza said.

The police report said the driver charged in the crash was traveling at “…93 MPH in a posted 30 MPH zone…” just before the crash. “My parents are dead,” Icaza said. “They would not be dead without this person speeding and hitting them.”

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A speeding ticket will cost at least $130 and remember that driver who was clocked at 80 miles per hour? His ticket is $355 plus an automatic trip to court. If you’re speeding in a school zone or work zone, the fine will double.

Ted Scouten