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Published: Sunday, 2/10/2013

Fatal accidents rise 52% in Lucas County in 2012

BLADE STAFF

Fatal crashes increased by 52 percent last year on Lucas County streets and roads, but a local expert said that was more indicative of a “good” year in 2011 than of a new problem in 2012.

Thirty-six people died in 35 fatal crashes throughout the county last year, the Lucas County Traffic Safety Program reported. While that was up from 29 deaths in 23 crashes during 2011, the fatal-crash number was the same as 2010’s, and the only other years since 1996 with lower death tolls were 2003 and 2009 (33 each), according to agency data.

Gwen Neuendorfer, the program’s coordinator, said the most common element in Lucas County fatal crashes was intoxication. Eighteen of the crashes, or 52 percent, involved a drunk or high driver, compared with state and national averages of 32 percent for fatal crashes.

“We have a lot of alcohol and drug-impaired crashes,” she said, adding later, “I don’t know why people continue to do this [drive while impaired].”

The county’s only multiple-fatality crash last year was a head-on collision on I-75 in downtown Toledo that killed two Monroe men in a wrong-way vehicle. Autopsies revealed both were drunk.

Nine of those killed were pedestrians, two were bicyclists, and four were motorcyclists. Six of the nine pedestrians were faulted for the crashes that killed them, Ms. Neuendorfer said.

The Lucas County Traffic Safety Program is funded through grants from the Ohio Department of Public Safety and is administered by the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West.



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