First fatal crash of 2020 comes after better year for Butler County

Butler County’s first fatal vehicle crash of this year occurred Monday afternoon at the corner of Verity Parkway and Lafayette Avenue. Teresa Day, 63, of Middletown, was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at Atrium Medical Center. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
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Butler County’s first fatal vehicle crash of this year occurred Monday afternoon at the corner of Verity Parkway and Lafayette Avenue. Teresa Day, 63, of Middletown, was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at Atrium Medical Center. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

More than half of the fatal crashes last year in Butler County could have been eliminated if the driver avoided “bad choices,” said Lt. Clint Arnold from the Hamilton post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

After reviewing the 18 fatal crashes in the county, Arnold said eight victims weren’t properly restrained and six deaths were related to alcohol or drugs. In some of the fatal crashes, alcohol or drugs and not wearing a seat belt were both listed as contributing factors, he said.

He listed two other major causes of fatalities: excessive speeds and distracted driving.

Arnold said the OSP examines every fatal crash to determine its cause and determine if the problem can be corrected. But most fatal accidents are caused by “driver behavior” and not road conditions, he said.

“Cars are built to keep us alive,” he said. “But sometimes we make bad choices and we become a statistic.”

After seeing a drop in fatal crashes in 2019, Butler County experienced its first of 2020 this week.

A witness said the driver of a box truck ran a red light Monday afternoon at the corner of Verity Parkway and Lafayette Avenue in Middletown and crashed into a Ford car driven by Teresa Day, 63, of Middletown. After the collision, Day’s car was pushed into the front of a semi truck that was stopped at the red light.

She was extricated by Middletown and Monroe firefighters, then transported from the scene to Atrium Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. CareFlight was requested and the medical helicopter landed at Douglass Park.

Butler County’s 18 fatalities last year were down from the 30 in 2018 and 31 in 2017, according to statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. So far this year in Ohio, there have been 13 fatalities, down from 23 during the same period in 2019.

In Ohio, 1,113 people were killed in traffic crashes last year, the fifth year-over-year increase in the past six years, state officials said. There were 1,008 fatalities in 2014, 1,110 in 2015, 1,133 in 2016, 1,179 in 2017, and 1,068 in 2018.

Of the 38 fatalities in Butler and Warren counties last year, 11 were OVI-related, seven involved commercial vehicles and nine involved motorcycles.

There were 33,654 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2018 in which 36,560 deaths occurred, according to national statistics. This resulted in 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 4.4 in the District of Columbia to 22.2 in Mississippi. The death rate per 100 million miles traveled ranged from 0.54 in Massachusetts to 1.83 in South Carolina.

The fatality rate per 100,000 people in 2018 in Ohio was 9.1, and the death rate per 100 million miles traveled was 0.93.