— The Ashtabula Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol issued 194 citations for speed, vehicle defect and other violations over the holiday weekend, Lt. Jerad Sutton said, and pulled over 468 cars in those three days.
“We were doing general traffic enforcement,” he said, “looking for everything from speed to impairment to vehicle defects.”
Sutton said troopers arrested five drivers for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Two of those OVI arrests were made at a vehicle checkpoint on Route 534 in Geneva.
Sutton called the weekend crash and citation statistics, “fairly usual for a holiday weekend.”
Over the weekend troopers issued 162 warnings for all types of issues, Sutton said, but the weekend wasn’t without serious on-the-road crashes and hazards.
“We had 10 crashes in the county over the weekend and three of those crashes were injury crashes,” he said. “One was very, very serious.”
Christopher Smith, 21, of Ashtabula, is in intensive care at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa. after he drove off the side of Plymouth Ridge Road on Monday morning, OHP reports.
Smith’s car was sheared in half and he was ejected from the vehicle. Alcohol use is the suspected cause of the crash, Sutton said.
Troopers logged a 16th vehicle fatality last week when Joshua Fagnilli, 86, apparently fainted while driving on Clay Street in Austinburg Township, Ashtabula County Coroner Pamela Lancaster said.
Fagnilli died of blunt force trauma to the head, neck and extremities. His death is the 16th fatality so far this year, Sutton said.
“Last year we had 16 fatalities for the entire year,” Sutton said, “so this year we have hit that number in late August.”
Sutton said most of the fatal crashes have two commonalties — impairment or failure to wear a safety belt.
“Those are the common denominators — drinking and driving and lack of a seat belt,” he said. “In our last two major crashes (Fagnilli and Smith’s), both drivers were wearing safety belts, but that just doesn’t seem to be the norm.”