More Ohioans were killed in 2019 crashes than the previous year and continued a trend seen in the state the past four of five years.
As of Monday, 1,143 people were killed in crashes this year, up 76 from 2018, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol data.
“There’s nothing that I can say definitively causes crashes, but we’re focused on slowing drivers down, making sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing their seat belt. We want to identify and apprehend impaired drivers and we want to make sure that when you are behind the wheel that your focus is entirely on the road in front of you,” said Trooper Sheldon Goodrum, spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
In Montgomery County, there were 41 fatal crashes this year, five less than 2018, according to patrol data.
The latest fatal crash resulted in four fatalities on Christmas Day in Dayton.
Renee Jones-Blevins, 49, was driving a white Dodge Avenger when the car crashed on West Third Street, killing her, Quaishia Jones, 28, and Tae’Kwaun Jones, 10, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office. A little girl, Mae’lah Jones, 5, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Four others survived the crash and remained in the hospital.
The number of crashes statewide overall is down significantly in 2019.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies across Ohio handled about 64,500 crashes last year. This year, law enforcement has handled about 63,000.
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“Law enforcement across Ohio are working to make sure everyone gets where they’re going safely. Every year we want fatal crashes and fatalities to come down,” Goodrum said.
Althought the number of people killed has increased, the number of crashes statewide have been trending downward in recent years, Goodrum said.
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Around 2017 is when the Ohio State Highway Patrol started to focus on key things that make a crash more likely to be fatal, Goodrum said.
“We’re out there looking for those key things we know cause fatalities,” Goodrum said.
In 2018, about 37% of fatal crashes in Ohio were OVI-related, or 367 OVI-related crashes.
In Montgomery County, 13 of the 41 2019 fatal crashes were due to the driver operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The majority of fatal crashes in 2019 happened in urban areas.
In Miami County there were 12 fatal crashes in 2019, none of them OVI-related. There were 13 more fatal crashes in Greene County in 2019 than the year before.
Twenty fatal crashes occurred in Butler County in 2019.
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Goodrum said that the most important thing drivers and their passengers can do to improve safety on the road is to wear a seatbelt.
“Wearing your seat belt is really going to help you, if you’re doing everything else right,” Goodrum said.
On New Year’s Eve, Goodrum said the patrol anticipates a lot of people on the road and cautioned drivers to follow speed limits.
“The state patrol will be out in force in the next coming days and certainly into the new year,” Goodrum said.
BY THE NUMBERS
1,143 - Ohioans killed in 2018 crashes
41 - Fatal crashes in Montgomery County
13 - Fatal 2019 Montgomery County crashes involving an OVI
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