Crackdown On Seat Belt Violators
Troopers are about to start an effort to save lives after an up tick in fatal crashes that may have been prevented.
A high school student and beloved equestrian trainer died in separate accidents on the same day in Licking County. A third person died the next day. None of the victims was wearing a seatbelt.
Tracks and skid marks tell the sickening story of the rocky path a Suburban took on preston road. Off the road, back on, an obvious over-correction, divots out of the blacktop and off again. It rolled several times then 16-year-old passenger Noah Bates was thrown and died.
"Everybody who ever knew Noah, he touched their lives in a positive way," said Great Aunt Jane Wenzel-Fairchild.
An outpouring of support is showing the family just how dear Bates was to so many. And he continues to be. His decision to be an organ donor has already helped four people.
Just hours before Bates' accident, there was another in Granville.
A roadside memorial has grown where Pam Graham, a well-known equestrian, lost her life. Another car crossed the center line and hit her.
"She was just wonderful, just a really good friend and she's gonna be really missed," said neighbor Natasha Marshall.
Lt. Kevin Miller responded to both accidents and says along with a third fatal crash in Heath, they have one factor in common.
"It's the single most important thing you can do to reduce injury and save your life and its just so simple to do," said Lt. Miller.
Clicking a seatbelt. None of the victims was wearing one. It's especially upsetting for Miller in Bates' case. The driver was belted and wasn't injured.
"There was room to live in the vehicle. There was room to live if he'd only been seatbelted in he would've more likely than not walked away from the crash," said Lt. Miller.
The Highway Patrol and Licking County Sheriff's Office are stepping up seatbelt enforcement this week.
Three officers will be dedicated to the effort every day.
"They'll be looking specifically for safety belt violations," said Lt. Miller.
He says the violations will be punished, all to prevent more tragedy.
"It just goes to show you how important that belt is, it could save your life," said Marshall.
The national Click It Or Ticket campaign starts the week after, but Lt. Miller says they need to get the message back out there right now.