Data shows twice as many crashes in turnpike construction zone compared to when it was clear

Posted at 6:24 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 18:43:35-04

The stretch of the Ohio Turnpike where a 14-year-old New York girl was killed Sunday is the same area where there has been a spike in the number of crashes recently, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Statistics show that there have been 32 crashes between mile post 107 and 113 eastbound in Erie County since the beginning of June. June 2nd is when the Ohio Turnpike Commission said cement barricades were put in place to separate traffic into single lanes for the purpose of construction. Prior to the barricades, between the months of January and May, there were 16 crashes in that same area.

Sunday's crash which took the life of 14-year-old Madison Creagan is the second fatal crash in that construction zone. A motorcyclist was killed June 28th there when he hit one of the barrier walls.

"I consider every construction zone both dangerous and something that requires drivers' attention," said Randy Cole, the executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

Cole said the area has no more or fewer accidents than other construction areas on the turnpike.

“My car went straight into the back of their car as I was trying to slow down," said Qadriyyah Sulton, a South Euclid woman who was a victim of a car accident in that turnpike construction zone on July 1st. "It's one of the most dangerous areas to drive on the highway."

Cole said the turnpike's work zones are relatively safe but there are more accidents than he would like to see. Regardless, he stands by the traffic configuration of barricaded lanes.

“We’re separating the traffic and having it run both directions is the safest thing we’ve come up with," he added.

Cole said the problem has more to do with drivers who are speeding or distracted. The Ohio State Highway Patrol agrees.

"If people would just increase their following distance and do the speed limit, it would be even better,” said Lt. Richard Reeder of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The turnpike commission said construction between mile posts 107 and 113 eastbound will be complete by late November. The same work will then begin on the opposite side.

Sultan, who suffered minor injuries from her accident, said she was going under the posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour when her incident happened.