BERLIN - Two people died, and another was injured late Monday in a fiery crash on state Route 534. The fatalities were among the 14 the Ohio State Highway Patrol recorded statewide during Memorial Day weekend.
Patrol officials in Columbus said that the Memorial Day weekend is among several holidays during which they track crashes, arrests and activities taking place on highways across the state.
"We know there are dates, holidays, when more people are out on the highway, traveling or going to picnics or parties. People are typically out celebrating with family and friends. So these are the days we put a lot of our focus on," Lt. Anne Ralston said.
Special to the Tribune Chronicle / WYTV 33 News
Two people died and another was injured late Monday after two trucks collided head-on in a fiery crash in Berlin. Here, cleanup crews clear the debris on state Route 534 between Leffingwell Road and Western Reserve Road in Berlin.
"We put a great deal of work in advance into reminding people of the importance of making good decisions, how busy the highways likely will be, and we send out reminders for them to take extra precautions," Ralston said.
The four-day reporting period, which also tracked operative a vehicle while intoxicated, drug arrests and felony arrests, began Friday at midnight and ran through 11:59 p.m. Monday.
The patrol was not releasing the names of the individuals killed in Berlin on Monday.
Activity comparison for all years runs from 12 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Monday. The 2013 data is provisional as of Tuesday.
State Highway Patrol
Troopers said a straight truck, traveling south on Route 534, struck a semi truck about 11 p.m. on Route 534 between Leffingwell Road and Western Reserve Road. The straight truck went off the side off the road, over-corrected and crossed the center line, hitting the semi truck head-on, according to patrol reports.
Both vehicles were engulfed in flames and the two people inside the straight truck were trapped inside the vehicle, troopers said.
Both the driver and passenger in the straight truck were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi-truck, Mark Hoskins, 54, of Alliance, was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. Troopers said Tuesday he was in fair condition.
Route 534 at the accident scene was closed to traffic for several hours.
Last year, there were 13 deaths over the Memorial Day weekend, the patrol reported.
This year, there were 695 recorded crashes as compared to 655 in 2012, marking a 6.1 percent increase.
Ralston said the patrol, working with the Ohio Department of Public Safety, also keeps the public updated throughout the holiday what has taken place so far.
"And then we do a recap. We want people to know we have an increased presence at certain times of the year. I think it does serve as a deterrent. It helps. I think people are more aware and they are paying attention," Ralston said.
The patrol also tracks activity on July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
This past weekend, OSHP made more impaired driving, drug and felony arrests compared to the 2012 Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The patrol also reported that operating a vehicle impaired-related fatalities decreased to three for the weekend, down from seven for 2012; patrol OVI arrests increased nearly 5 percent; drug arrests were up more than 62 percent; and felony arrests were up more than 20 percent.
The patrol's Columbus District, encompassing central Ohio counties, experienced the highest amount of OVI and drug arrests, with 148 and 98 arrests respectively.