A Xenia man was hit and killed on U.S. 35 on Sept. 7, one of at least four pedestrian fatalities in Montgomery County this year. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF

Dayton man’s death part of 5-year rise in Ohio pedestrian fatalities

A driver is expected to be charged in a Saturday night wreck that killed a pedestrian at a bus stop, the latest area fatality in what state figures show is an increasing trend the last five years.

The Saturday night crash on Ohio 741 that claimed of Edward Lee Owens, 72, of Dayton, resulted in the arrest of Sandra Lynn Rowe, 59.

The incident adds to the rising number of traffic fatalities and of pedestrian victims, according to data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The highway patrol is still investigating Saturday night’s wreck, but “we absolutely anticipate charges” in the crash, said Lt. Mark Nichols of the Dayton Post said Monday.

Owens’ death has been ruled an accident, according to preliminary findings from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Since 2013, Ohio traffic fatalities have increased from 990 to 1,179 last year, with a steady rise each year, according to the highway patrol. During that same time, the number of pedestrians killed went from 88 to 145, climbing annually, state figures show.

Five years ago, pedestrian fatalities represented about 8.8 percent of all Ohio traffic deaths, records show. In 2017, it grew to nearly 12.3 percent.

Saturday’s pedestrian fatality is the second in as many months on the state route in Miami Twp.

Authorities want “drivers focusing on their driving. Drive defensively. Limit your distractions,” Nichols said. “Try to drive at a speed where you can anticipate something (that’s) unexpected and react to that.”

Road risks increase with the holiday season, said Sgt. Richard Dixon of the Springfield Post of the state patrol.

“It’s that time of year where everybody’s trying to get last-minute things done for Christmas and the holidays,” Dixon said.

“You’re going to see a lot of it, especially around the bus stops here around these busy streets,” he said. “With today’s technology and the lack of attention by drivers, driver inattention in general, you’re going to see this all the time.”

A report on this past weekend’s fatal crash is still being compiled, according to the highway patrol. Preliminary reports indicate it occurred about 6:15 p.m. Saturday near Alex Bell Road while Owens was waiting at a bus stop, authorities said.

Several Miami Twp. police responded shortly after 6 p.m. the 5700 block of Springboro Pike near Fifth Third Bank, township records indicate.

Traffic in the area was shut down about 6:35 p.m. as the state patrol and Moraine police joined several Miami Twp. officers, the last of whom did not leave the scene until after 10 p.m., township records show.

Rowe was arrested Saturday night and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of aggravated vehicular homicide, according to the Miami Valley Jail website.

Rowe was released from custody over the weekend and has not been formally charged, authorities said. Rowe’s name was not listed in area court records Monday.

Saturday night’s crash is the second pedestrian fatality on Ohio 741 in a month and at least the fourth in Montgomery County this year, according to Dayton Daily News records.

On Nov. 12, a 29-year-old Dayton man died after being struck on the state route – or Springboro Pike - about a mile south of this weekend’s accident. Brandon A. Spearman was fatally struck by an SUV about 7:50 p.m. near Cox Arboretum, authorities said.

Motorists on Ohio 741 that night said they saw a man in the middle of the street “walking toward cars” and they narrowly avoided hitting him shortly before Spearman was killed.

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