MOUNT VERNON — The recent death of a Fredericktown man in a one-car fatal crash brought the highway fatality total in Knox County to eight so far this year. There were eight total fatalities in the county in all of 2009.
“Knox County doesn’t exactly have a higher rate than other counties,” said Lt. Chad McGinty, Commander of the Mount Gilead Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “When we look at what surrounds Knox County, certainly I’m not impressed with what we have accomplished. We have had some years that are better than others. But looking at this year in particular we have compiled more alcohol- and drug-related fatalities this year than we did all of last year.
“We haven’t had any less than eight people die in highway fatalities in Knox County in quite a few years. We’ve had as many as 16 in the not too distant past. And when you look at the total population in Knox County and compare that with the counties around us, I can’t say Knox County is one of the leaders in this area but it’s alarming to me, and I would think and hope it would be alarming to the residents of Knox County, that we have a fatal crash problem.”
McGinty said the majority of fatal crashes this year were the result of driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. With a little less than half the year to go and the same number of deaths on the books already this year as all of 2009, McGinty is not hopeful for 2010.
“We still have some results [to come] on some of those fatals but we have confirmed five of the eight as involving alcohol or drugs,” he said. “Last year we had eight fatalities all year and this year we already have eight. That’s alarming.”