Multi-County Blitz To Reduce Crashes, Keep Travelers Safe

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A multi-county blitz is underway during the month of April to keep a busy Ohio roadway safe.

Law enforcement agencies in Hancock, Hardin, Logan and Champaign counties are increasing patrols along US Route 68.

The Hardin County Sheriff says his stretch of the road has seen a 20% rise in crashes. He says his deputies are out patrolling to bring that number down.

Traffic stops along US 68 is nothing new for local law enforcement. What is new is the approach. They say it is unique to have this many agencies across these counties working together to reduce crashes.

While 10TV was riding along with Hardin County Deputy Isaac Woltz, he stopped a woman for speeding along US Route 68.

"I want them to put their eyes on the roadway and put their head in the game. You're on the roadway driving this vehicle. It is a weapon if you use it the wrong way," said Deputy Woltz to the driver.

With lower speeds and open stretches of road, deputies say it is easy to speed, but they are out patrolling to make sure drivers stay within the speed limit.

"When you have those higher speeds, people are not paying attention. You're going to have accidents. You're going to have crashes," said Deputy Woltz.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says there were 448 crashes on this four-county stretch of road in 2013, which included 117 injuries and 6 fatalities.

Deputy Woltz thinks back to the times where he's had to deliver the bad news of fatal crashes.

"Some parent, some father, just like me, is going to have his heart ripped out with a spoon in a short amount of time because his daughter has been killed." He says he hopes never to utter those words again.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says they are also assisting in this enforcement blitz, by sending their planes above US Route 68 to monitor traffic.