Seven fatal accidents shake Stark County in three-month span


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The Stark County Traffic Fatality Review Committee, in association with the Stark County Safe Communities Coalition, has raised concerns over a spate of fatal accidents in the region during the months of April through June 2023. The committee’s latest meeting, held on July 18th, shed light on the alarming toll of seven fatal traffic crashes that resulted in the loss of seven lives.

Investigating the tragic incidents, the committee identified several contributing factors that played a significant role in these fatal collisions, with some accidents involving multiple causes:

  1. Failure to Use Seat Belts: Two of the crashes involved individuals who were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accidents, significantly increasing the risk of severe injuries and fatalities.
  2. Motorcycle Safety: A staggering four of the fatal crashes involved motorcycles, and shockingly, three out of the four motorcyclists were not wearing helmets. The stark rise in motorcycle-related incidents has prompted safety experts to urge the community to “Watch out for Motorcycles” and for riders to prioritize their safety by donning helmets.
  3. Distracted Driving: One crash was caused by a distracted driver, highlighting the dangers of using mobile devices or engaging in any activity that diverts attention from the road.
  4. Involvement of Alcohol: Tragically, two of the fatal crashes were linked to alcohol consumption, underlining the need for responsible drinking and avoiding driving under the influence.

As of June 30th, 2023, a total of 11 fatal crashes and 11 deaths have occurred on Stark County roads this year. This somber statistic indicates the urgency for enhanced safety measures and responsible driving habits.

In light of these concerning numbers, the Stark County Safe Communities Coalition Coordinator emphasized their continued commitment to educating the public about safe driving practices. With the rising number of motorcycle-related accidents, the coalition urges drivers to be vigilant and mindful of motorcyclists on the roads. Simultaneously, motorcyclists are urged to protect themselves by wearing helmets.

In a year-to-year comparison, the data from 2022 shows that at the same point, 15 fatal crashes claimed the lives of 15 people in Stark County. The current figures indicate a pressing need for action to curb the rising trend of fatal accidents.

To address the issue of impaired driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign is set to kick off in August. The Safe Communities Coalition, in collaboration with the Stark County Sheriff’s Office OVI Task Force, will commemorate the life of Kera Lemasters Leskovec, who tragically lost her life to an impaired driver. A memorial and checkpoint will be established in Lexington Township in honor of Kera Lemasters Leskovec, aiming to raise awareness about the perils of driving under the influence.

The stark reality of these seven fatal accidents serves as a somber reminder of the importance of adhering to traffic laws, avoiding distractions, wearing seat belts, and making responsible decisions behind the wheel. By working together, the community can strive to make Stark County’s roads safer for everyone.