RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
Despite one fatal vehicle accident this holiday weekend, the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) in Lucasville reported an overall drop in the number of traffic accidents this year from last.
According to Lt. Karla Taulbee of the OSHP Portsmouth Post, troopers had a 22 percent increase in traffic stops and 36 percent decrease of traffic accidents during the holiday weekend, compared to Memorial Day weekend 2011.
“While a majority of the public is enjoying a long weekend, the post troopers were assigned to 12-hour shifts the entire weekend. They did all they could to keep the roadways safe throughout the holiday weekend,” Taulbee said. “Unfortunately tragedy did strike in Scioto County this weekend where an individual died as a result of injuries he received in a traffic crash.”
That person was Jacob Dillow, 23, of Wheelersburg, who was killed Sunday when he was struck by a 2003 Dodge Durango while driving his four-wheeler on Tick Ridge Road in Harrison Township.
The alleged driver of the Dodge Durango, Jeremy White of Wheelersburg, is charged with vehicular homicide and hit-skip involving a fatality after turning himself in Tuesday morning to the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. In addition to the vehicular homicide and hit-skip involving a fatality, both felonies, White faces misdemeanors charges of driving under suspension and failure to yield.
Statewide, 11 people lost their lives last holiday weekend — a four-year low for the reporting period.
The Village of New Boston reported a pleasantly calm holiday weekend with only two OVI arrests.
The Scioto County Sheriff’s Office also reported no increase in traffic activity this year, but did have one bizarre incident involving an assault and stabbing. According to reports, Todd Collignon was a guest in the home of John Frost, in West Portsmouth, and they had all been drinking. Collignon began arguing with Frost and Loretta Bailey, then he grabbed an axe handle and threatened Frost before he (Collignon) passed out. Frost told the Sheriff’s Office that Collignon woke up and started arguing again. That is when Frost reportedly picked up the axe handle and struck Collignon several times, even as Collignon was walking away. Frost was then stabbed in the back by Bailey, deputies reported.
Both Frost and Bailey were taken into custody, and charged with felony assault and tampering with evidence.
Compared to last year, Patrol traffic stops in all of Ohio increased over 13 percent, OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) arrests increased nearly two percent, and drug arrests were up nearly 15 percent. The Patrol’s Columbus District, encompassing Central Ohio counties, reportedly experienced the highest amount of OVI and drug arrests, with 117 and 71 arrests, respectively.
The Highway Patrol made 19,919 non-enforcement contacts throughout the state, of which 5,960 were to assist motorists. Total crash investigations declined more than six percent. Aggressive driving arrests — which includes following too close, failure to yield, improper passing, passing a stopped school bus and reckless operation — increased more than 40 percent this holiday season.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.