‘A very tragic traffic crash’: 4 killed after car hits pole in Dayton

Dayton police are asking people to slow down and drive carefully after four people were killed Sunday night in a crash into a pole in which investigators said they suspect excessive speed was a factor.

The deaths are part of a sharp increase in traffic fatalities in Dayton so far in 2022 compared to the same time last year, Dayton police Lt. Col. Eric Henderson said Monday afternoon during a press briefing.

“We had a very tragic traffic crash occur where we lost four citizens of our community in a very tragic manner,” Henderson said. “This is very devastating for the family members, very devastating for the community, very devastating for our department, our officers who had to respond to the scene.”

Two of the deceased are male, and the other two are female, police said, but they could not provide additional details, including their ages. A 15-year-old survived the crash and is in stable condition, the assistant chief said.

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The crash was reported at 9:14 p.m. at North Gettysburg and St. James avenues, near West Hillcrest Avenue.

A 911 caller said a pole was down and a car had flipped over, according to Montgomery County Regional Dispatch records.

“I don’t know what color the vehicle is, but it’s demolished,” the caller said.

It appears the vehicle was traveling south on Gettysburg Avenue and at some point lost control, likely at excessive speed, Henderson said.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is working to identify the deceased.

It’s not clear what happened in the moments leading up to the crash. Henderson urged anyone who has information to call Dayton police at 937-333-COPS (1359). Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP (7867).

The assistant chief urged the public to drive safely, noting the police department is working on long-term strategies to address issues with traffic safety in the city. Earlier Sunday, officers responded to Gettysburg Avenue on vehicles that were likely street racing, he added.

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“... This is a community issue, a community concern. As the police department, we’re part of that community,” Henderson said. “We need assistance addressing these issues. We’re losing far too many young people in our community due to accidental deaths.”

There have been 14 fatal crashes in Dayton so far this year, with 11 in west Dayton, Henderson said. It’s a 75% increase from the eight fatal crashes reported during the same period last year.

“This is not specific to Dayton. Some of these issues are regional and even nationwide,” he added. “It’s really a lack of concern for driving safety. That’s what we need to focus on, but it’s going to take more than the police department to solve these issues.”

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