Patrol notes uptick in fatal wrecks

The number of people who have been killed on Seneca County roadways so far in 2013 already is approaching the number from all of 2012, according to State Highway Patrol.

Sgt. Don Pratt of the Fremont post of State Highway Patrol said in 2011, Seneca County had three fatal crashes with five people killed. In 2012, the county had eight with 10 people killed. As of Wednesday, eight people have been killed in five crashes so far this year.

The five fatal crashes occurred at SR 53 and CR 6 at 2:45 p.m. Feb. 3; on US 224 at 6:36 p.m. April 26; at TR 79 and TR 8 at 2:20 p.m. May 30; at US 224 and SR 587 at 11:08 a.m. June 25; and CR 34 and TR 32 at 6:50 a.m. Wednesday, Pratt said.

Sandusky County, which is more populous, has had three people killed in two crashes this year, Pratt said.

State Highway Patrol is not going to abandon Sandusky County, which is more heavily traveled than Seneca County, he said.

“But our fatal crash problem is clearly down in Seneca County right now,” he said.

According to the State Highway Patrol website, there have been 427 confirmed fatalities in 2013 as of Thursday, compared to 615 at this time last year. State Highway Patrol reported 1,034 fatal crashes in 2012.

Pratt said four of the five fatal crashes in Seneca County this year have involved people failing to yield. The fifth crash involved a vehicle going left of center.

All five fatal accidents this year have occurred during daylight hours and none has been alcohol-related, Pratt said.

He said officials think in many of the cases, tall corn played a part. People need to take more care when they’re approaching intersections where corn is in the fields, he said.

Also, many of the roads in the county have a lot of undulations, and a great number of the roads are angled, he said.

Pratt said State Highway Patrol officials are going to try to aggressively combat the upward trend involving fatal accidents.

“Our job is to save lives,” he said.

Federal grant money is being used toward overtime.

“There’s going to be a zero tolerance level down there for stop sign or failure to yield violations or seatbelt violations down there,” he said.

Pratt said troopers from the Bucyrus post of State Highway Patrol are being assigned to Seneca County. A trooper from that area is being sent every shift every day. The trooper heads to Seneca County as long as the Bucyrus post has coverage in its area, he said.

State Highway Patrol is going to put a lot of resources in Seneca County for the rest of the year, Pratt said. Troopers are not trying to write a lot of tickets. The purpose is to try to save lives in Seneca County and keep everyone safe, he said.

“It’s not because we want to catch people. We want them to put their seatbelt on. We want them to slow down,” he said.