Botkins chief discusses fatal crash

By Melanie Speicher - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The fatal crash at the intersection of County Road 25A and state Route 274, along with a AAA safety study on red light running crashes, were discussed Tuesday morning during the quarterly meeting of the Governor’s Community Traffic Safety Network of Shelby County. The meeting was held at AAA Shelby County.

Botkins Police Chief Tom Glass told the group that was the first fatal at the intersection, which falls within Botkins’ village limits. The crash was Oct. 10 and happened when a driver failed to stop at the posted stop sign on state Route 274. A passenger in the vehicle, Angela Fitzgerald, 52, of Sidney, was killed.

“We had one person trapped in the vehicle,” said Glass. Fitzgerald was taken by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital after the crash. She died of injuries sustained in the crash.

“We sent one person to Wilson Health and one person to St. Rita’s,” said Glass.

Glass said two safety studies have been conducted concerning the intersection.

“One was three years ago and was done with ODOT, the county and Ohio Highway Patrol,” said Glass. “There’s a step thing to do and we’ll following ODOT’s guidelines.”

Glass said Botkins residents “are up in arms” about the intersection and many of them are expected to attend the Oct. 29 Botkins Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

“He (driver Myron Parke Jr., of Sidney) just flat-out ran it (stop sign),: said Glass.

Glass said ODOT has talked about putting a round-about at the intersection but there’s not enough right-of-way available since the Inn Between sits on one corner of the road.

“We have a chunk of semis traveling (on Country Road 25A),” said Glass. Many of the semis are from Honda of America in Anna. “

He added that the flow of traffic at the intersection has tripled over the years.

“We have signage up,” said glass. “We have the flashing lights at the intersection. I don’t think a traffic light would help as people race to get to the light before it changes. If it’s a four-way stop, then I think we’ll see fewer crashes.

“We have to explain the difference of a four-way stop and a traffic light,” said Glass. “I don’t think a light will help there.”

Glass said there are 36-inch stop signs on state Route 274 at the intersection.

Glass said the village used to have traffic lights at two intersections on County Road 25A. The lights were replaced with four-way stop signs and “the accidents went to zero.”

He went onto add that he’s in favor of the four-way stop signs being installed. Glass was in a crash at the intersection three years ago.

He said the first time he had to respond to that area, he took it slow as he remembered being in the crash.

Glass said ODOT is responsible for the stop signs on state Route 274. If stop signs are installed on County Road 25A, that responsibility falls to village council as the intersection is within village limits.

Debra Barga, AAA of Shelby County, reviewed a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Study on Red Light Running crashes.

In 2017, she said, 939 people were killed in red light running crashes. The study shows that red light running continues to be a traffic safety challenge.

“All road safety stakeholders must work together to change behavior and identify effective countermeasures,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The student shows that 46.4 percent of those killed were occupants of the vehicle which did not run the red light.

The total number of deaths in Ohio over a 10-year span is 229 people.

The study also showed that one in three drivers reported driving through a red light. It also showed that enforcement is still the best way to get drivers to comply with the law. The implementation of red light cameras helps to ensure drivers’ safety and trust in the system, the report stated.

The report also shared that driver behavior is critical to reducing the number of red light crashes. AAA recommends that drivers should:

• Prepare to stop. Lift your foot off the accelerator and “cover the brake” when preparing to enter any intersection by positioning the right foot just above the brake pedal without touching it.

• Use good judgment. Monitor “stale” green lights, those that have been green a long time as you’re approaching the intersection. They will likely turn yellow as you approach the intersection.

•Drive defensively. Before entering an intersection after the light has turned green, take a second after the light changes and look both ways before proceeding.

By Melanie Speicher

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.