Posted: 5:29 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013

Traffic fatalities down more than 50 percent in 2013



Related

Traffic fatalities down more than 50 percent in 2013 photo
Family and friends pay their respects during a visitation held at Hamilton High School for Ben Flick, a 2013 Hamilton graduate and University of Cincinnati football player who died Saturday, Sept. 21 in a one-vehicle crash in Butler County. NICK DAGGY / STAFF
Traffic fatalities down more than 50 percent in 2013 photo
Katie Chadwick (wearing blue), a childhood friend of Ben Flick, is consoled by Garbrelle Schirmer (left) and Courtney Bell during a visitation held Tuesday for Ben Flick at Hamilton High School. Flick, a 2013 Hamilton graduate and University of Cincinnati football player, died Saturday, Sept. 21 in a one-vehicle crash in Butler County. NICK DAGGY / STAFF
Traffic fatalities down more than 50 percent in 2013 photo
Katie Chadwick (wearing blue) is consoled by Courtney Bell and Garbrelle Schirmer (left) during a visitation held Tuesday for Ben Flick at Hamilton High School. Flick, a 2013 Hamilton graduate and University of Cincinnati football player, died Saturday, Sept. 21 in a one-vehicle crash in Butler County. NICK DAGGY / STAFF
Traffic fatalities down more than 50 percent in 2013 photo
Jon Lee (left) and Mickey McCarter, members of Ben Flick’s Hamilton High School graduating class of 2013, pay their respects during a visitation held for Ben Flick at Hamilton High School Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Flick, a freshman University of Cincinnati football player, died Saturday, Sept. 21 in a one-vehicle crash in Butler County. NICK DAGGY / STAFF

By Ed Richter

Staff Writer

Despite two fatal car crashes in Butler County in three days, law enforcement officials say fatal crashes on county roads are down this year by more than half compared to 2012.

There have been nine fatal vehicle crashes in Butler County so far this year compared to 21 for all of 2012, according to data provided by the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Hamilton post. Lt. Anne Ralston, a spokeswoman for the highway patrol, said fatal crashes statewide and in Butler County are on a downward trend when you analyze the traffic data over several years.

“While we may have a roller coaster from year to year, a broader look at the data shows a continual decline,” Ralston said. “In fact, we are on pace towards the safest year on Ohio’s roads.”

Sgt. Pete Combs, of the patrol’s Hamilton post, said failure to yield, excessive speed for road conditions, failure to control, left of center and running traffic lights or stop signs are among the top factors in fatal crashes. Fatal crashes involving substance abuse are down 40 percent in 2013 compared to last year, Combs said.

“We are far below where we normally are at this time of year,” he said. “We hope to continue that trend.”

Alcohol and drugs are suspected factors in two separate accidents in Middletown and Hanover Township that took the lives of three area men.

Family and friends gathered for visitation services Tuesday night for Ben Flick, 19, of Hamilton, who died in a single-vehicle crash Saturday night at Morman and Stahlheber roads in Hanover Twp. The driver of the 2009 Chevrolet, Sean Van Dyne, 18, of Hamilton, died Monday night at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center from injuries suffered in the crash, according to his family.

Flick, an offensive lineman for the University of Cincinnati football program, and Van Dyne, a student at Miami University, had attended the Bearcat’s game at Miami University in Oxford earlier Saturday with UC football players Javon Harrison, 18, of Huber Heights and a graduate of Wayne High School and Mark Barr of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The crash occurred around 10:20 p.m. at Morman and Stahlheber roads where two people were ejected and two others were entrapped in the car.

Barr and Harrison, both freshman wide receivers, were transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Van Dyne, a business student at Miami University, and Flick were childhood friends, said Lynn VanDyne, Sean’s mother.

“Words cannot express the sense of sorrow at the unimaginable tragic loss of our son…” she said. “My heart breaks for all the boys and their families.”

Van Dyne was also a husband. He and his wife, Rachel, were just married in August after dating since the seventh grade.

“This is a time of great sadness for our family. Sean Van Dyne, a wonderful son and loving husband, has passed away. We are grateful to the staff at UC Medical Center for doing all they could to save Sean’s life.”

VanDyne would have turned 19 this October. A freshman at Miami, he was studying business but found a love of art and recently switched his major. His family described him as ambitious and had plans following graduation, to attend law school and become an FBI agent.

“It is in moments like these that we lean on our faith, our family, and our friends. We ask family and friends to please refrain from posting information about Sean on social media. What we need is prayer. We ask to keep all the boys and their families in your prayers,” the family said.

Meanwhile, Middletown police and an Ohio State Highway Patrol crash reconstruction team are continuing their investigation into a Tuesday morning fatal crash as a result of a police pursuit that originated in Warren County.

Clearcreek Twp. police Chief John Terrill said the seven-mile pursuit started in Red Lion when one of his officers heard a Honda Civic travelling at a high rate of speed as well as driving erratically and weaving on Ohio 122. He said the officer began to pursue the vehicle that reached speeds of 110 mph.

Terrill said the officer attempted to catch the car, but it accelerated near the Ohio 122 and Ohio 123 intersection. He said the chase went through Hunter and into Middletown and that the officer and some residents saw things being tossed from the car. He said the speeding car followed Oho 122 and took the Grand Avenue split on into the city.

About 12:12 a.m., Middletown police put out Stop Sticks on Grand Avenue at Highland Street which deflated a tire and driver could not negotiate the turn at Grand Avenue and Stanley Street and hit a traffic median, said Middletown police Maj. Rodney Muterspaw.

After the car hit the median, it turned around and the back of the car slammed into a utility pole. The impact of hitting the pole ejected the driver and passenger from the car, Terrill said. He said the body of the driver, McGovern Flener, 28, who had several addresses, was found in the street and was pronounced dead at the scene. The body of the passenger, Melissa Griffin, 20, of Lebanon, landed on the median. She was flown by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital with severe head trauma and was listed in critical condition Tuesday morning, Terrill said.

He said the car had beer cans everywhere and he suspects drug issues were involved.

Combs and Ralston said state troopers are using problem behavior identification and enforcing traffic laws to reduce the number of fatal crashes.

“We utilize high visibility traffic enforcement focused on high crash areas around the state,” Ralston said. “Being highly visible and proactive is a key component in changing driver behavior.”

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones believes that on the smaller county roads, drivers that go at a high rate of speed tend to over correct and if alcohols is involved, it makes it worse.

“These are not specific to any one thing,” Jones said. “It’s a combination of a lot of things. Everyone is in a hurry doing 1,000 different things and a lot of it is people not paying attention to what’s around them. It’s just a lot of bad tragedies.”

 
 

The latest news videos