Seventeen people were killed in traffic crashes across Ohio during the Independence Day holiday period, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
That figure marked an increase over the same time frame in 2016, when 13 traffic fatalities were reported by the Highway Patrol. Ten fatalities were reported in 2015 and 12 occurred in 2014, according to statistics provided by the Highway Patrol.
The 2017 holiday period began on Friday, June 30 and ended Tuesday, July 4. According to Highway Patrol statistics, impairment was proven to be a factor in five of those 17 fatal crashes.
“When someone chooses to drive after a night of drinking, the consequences can be deadly,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. “That’s why troopers make OVI enforcement a priority, whether they’re patrolling during a long holiday weekend or any other night. Motorists should be smart and always plan a sober way home.”
Troopers made 908 arrests for impaired driving and 624 for drug-related charges this year. The patrol responded to 807 crashes and made more than 43,000 traffic contacts in total, which included assisting more than 5,000 motorists.
While no fatal crashes were reported in Delaware County, troopers did respond to 1,831 incidents in the county over the five-day holiday period. The following incident figures were reported in neighboring counties: Franklin, 3,864; Morrow, 1,036; Licking, 1,455; Knox, 190; Marion, 952; Union, 473.
Knox County was the site of one of the 17 fatal crashes last weekend. Alexander P. Riggleman, age 47, of Mount Vernon died from injuries he suffered when his motorcycle crashed into the rear of another vehicle Monday afternoon on State Route 13 in Morris Township, Knox County. Troopers said Riggleman was wearing a helmet. Neither alcohol nor drugs were suspected factors in the crash.
During last year’s Fourth of July reporting period from July 1-4, there were a total of 12 fatal crashes that killed 13 people. This included seven OVI-related fatal crashes which killed eight people.
Motorists are encouraged to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.