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'It’s beyond concerning' - OVI cases spike in one local community

Police concerned as holidays arrive
Police lights
Posted at 6:48 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 19:34:15-05

LINNDALE, Ohio — A local police department is seeing a troubling trend on the roads. Linndale Police Chief Tim Franczak said there has been a 21% increase in the number of people Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) this year.

“It’s beyond concerning,” Franczak said. “We’re seeing a large spike in OVI. What used to be one, two, three a week. I’m seeing one, two, three in a day."

It's not just the number of impaired drivers behind the wheel, it is the alcohol mixed with speed.

“We’ve had speeds of 109 miles an hour and more than twice the legal limit, “said Franczak. And some of those impaired drivers traveling that fast are not on the highway, but instead residential streets.

Linndale officers have arrested drivers who were three times the legal limit driving with children in the car, and highly intoxicated drivers going the wrong way on residential roads, Franczak said.

“We have people coming into residential areas, two and three times the legal limit, going through stop sign after stop sign,” explained Franczak.

Sadly, Michael Gershe knows first-hand about drunk drivers. He was just eight weeks old when he was in a car hit by a drunk driver. He was severely injured but survived. His mother did not. Now, he is concerned about the increase and the upcoming holidays.

“Now we are in holiday time, we know people are going to die on the roads, texting on the phone, driving impaired, we know better,” said Gershe.

He started the non-profit The Magic of Life to educate young people about the dangers of drunk driving.

Franczak is trying to educate the public too. “I need help, I need the help of the community,” he explained. “I can’t arrest myself out of this problem, we need to make people aware this is dangerous,” Franczak said.

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