Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Rash of Crash Fatalities Puzzling ; Gibson Roads Claim 5 in June

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Rash of Crash Fatalities Puzzling ; Gibson Roads Claim 5 in June

Article excerpt

June was a deadly month on Gibson County, Ind., roadways with five separate single-fatality crashes - equaling the number of deaths on the county's roads for all of last year. Gibson County Sheriff George Ballard said the number of serious wrecks has risen this year, too. But he said such a high number of deaths certainly is an anomaly, considering all the safety enhancements that have been added to vehicles over the past three decades.

"Here we are in 2012, and we've had numerous fatalities." said Ballard, who has been with the sheriff's office for 37 years. "Five in one month is extremely unusual."

According to Indiana State Police data, the county had only four crashes resulting in five deaths for all of 2011. In 2010, there were seven crashes with a total of 11 fatalities. During the first five months of 2012, there was only one reported traffic fatality in the county.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Todd Ringle said there does not appear to be much connection among any of the accidents that suggests law enforcement should be targeting one specific area.

"What's frustrating about this is that they're happening in all areas," he said. "If we have a number of fatal crashes on one particular roadway or at one particular intersection, it's easier to send your resources to that area and increase enforcement."

The traffic deaths - along with a rash of suicides in the last few months - certainly are a conversation topic around the county, Ballard said. He described the county as a close-knit community where everyone seems to have a link to a tragic incident.

"You go to the McDonald's or wherever - a restaurant - people talk about it. If I walk into Walmart, I run into people, and they ask, 'Man, why are we having all these fatalities and things going on?' So the community is quite aware," Ballard said. …

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