Troopers Target Drivers From The Air


UPDATED: Wednesday August 13, 2014 11:53 PM

The next plane you spot flying above Fairfield County might be an Ohio State Highway Patrol aircraft looking for aggressive drivers.

Troopers are now utilizing their aviation division to try to prevent crashes after an uptick in deadly collisions.
 
"We are focusing on crash-causing violations which include improper passing, left of center, and fail to yield. We are prepared to use every resource available, in this case our well-trained pilots and aircraft," said Lt. Shad Caplinger, commander of the Lancaster Post.
 
The focus is on two lane roads. Right now, the focus is on a stretch of Pleasantville Road that troopers say has seen four deadly crashes in the past two and a half years.
 
"We see a violation and we're in direct contact with the trooper on the ground," said Trooper Ken Schirg, who was flying the plane on Wednesday.
 
Trooper Robert Wilson and Deputy T.J. Strawn with the Fairfield County Sheriff's office were on the ground to handle the violations Schirg spotted from the sky.
 
"It's very hilly and curvy and a lot of times we can't monitor beyond a half mile. Where Trooper Schirg is going to be able to monitor the whole stretch of roadway," Wilson said.
 
Troopers say they hope their increased patrols on Pleasantville Road and other county roads will prevent future deadly crashes in Fairfield County.
 
"We had a motorcyclist killed after a small utility van drove left of center in improper passing and struck it head on," Trooper Wilson said.
 
The Lancaster Post of Ohio State Highway Patrol reports 34 fatal crashes in Fairfield County since 2011. Twenty of them were on county roads, nine on state routes and five on U.S. routes.
 
The statistics explain why the patrol is counting on their air-to-ground teamwork to keep Fairfield County roads as crash-free as possible.
 
"We're going to try to make it a little safer," Wilson said.
 
Troopers say they will continue to patrol the area of Pleasantville Road by both air and ground through August 17th.
 
They will then focus their efforts on other problem areas in the county.
 
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