Driver arrested for violating RI travel ban on I-95

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island State Police say they’ve only arrested one motorist for driving while the statewide travel ban was in effect during the blizzard.

R.I. State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell told Eyewitness News a trooper arrested a male driver at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday for violating the governor’s executive order.

O’Donnell said the trooper clocked the motorist traveling at more than 80 miles per hour on Interstate 95 in Warwick. The individual also had an outstanding warrant out for his arrest issued by a municipality, he said.

The male driver will be arraigned by a justice of the peace Tuesday evening at state police barracks, O’Donnell said.

Gov. Gina Raimondo banned motorists from Rhode Island’s roadways between midnight and 8 p.m. Tuesday, which she described as a move to help emergency crews clear and use the roadways. The governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut also ordered travel bans during the storm.

Raimondo and other officials have said the travel ban was widely respected, and credited it with helping to make the snowstorm a relatively smooth one.

“Every hour that you give us, that you give this crew, to clean up, makes a world of difference,” the governor said at a news conference late Tuesday afternoon. She said there had been “very few” traffic accidents during the storm.

O’Donnell said he is also concerned about some private plow operators, who are exempt from the travel ban, driving at unsafe speeds despite the storm conditions.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @white_tim

Ted Nesi contributed to this report.

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