June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Ohio traffic deaths up, while Medina County sees decrease

Seven people died on Medina County roadways in 2012 — half the number who died in traffic crashes the previous year.

“It was a real good year,” said Ohio Highway Patrol Sgt. Tim Dearmitt, of the Medina post. “It’s the lowest I’ve seen since I’ve been here — since January 2006.”

Railroad tracks on the westbound side of Boston Road in Columbia Township where four Brunswick High School teenagers were killed June 3. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

Medina reported 14 highway deaths in 2011, 18 in 2010 and 18 in 2009, according to patrol statistics.

None of the county crashes in 2012 involved multiple deaths. The June 3 crash that took the lives of four Brunswick teenagers occurred at a railroad crossing on Boston Road, just across the county line, in Columbia Township in Lorain County.

While Medina County saw a dramatic drop in highway fatalities in 2012, the state as a whole saw an increase — to 1,056 deaths in 962 fatal crashes, compared to 1,015 deaths in 2011.

Officials point out that the 2011 total was the lowest total since record-keeping began in 1936.

Ohio also has at least 45 unconfirmed crash fatalities, which include those that remain under investigation and may not ultimately be ruled traffic deaths. That makes the potential total about 1,100 fatalities for the year.

Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston said it’s too soon to understand the reasons for the increase in deaths, although she noted that an increase during the first half of the year reflected a similar trend at the national level.

Hamilton, Mercer, Trumbull and Warren counties each had at least 10 more traffic fatalities in 2012 than in the previous year, according to preliminary data.

Compared with 2011, troopers made about 1,500 more arrests for drug violations and more than 800 more arrests for impaired driving in 2012, according to preliminary data. They also issued about 7,500 more citations for seat-belt use and used three regional squads to specifically target crash-causing violations.

Col. John Born, the patrol’s superintendent, said the agency was “seeing positive results” from troopers’ work to get dangerous drivers off the roads.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.

2012 Fatal crashes
The fatal crashes in Medina County:
– Jan. 23, Interstate 76, Wadsworth Township
– May 16, Grafton Road, Liverpool Township
– May 19, High Street, Wadsworth
– June 12, U.S. Route 42, Harrisville Township
– July 24, Interstate 71, Harrisville Township
– Aug. 2, West Smith Road, Spencer Township
– Aug. 24, U.S. Route 224, Homer Township
Source: Ohio Highway Patrol