Police Aim To Reduce Fatalities On U.S. 33

By Megan Trent

August 9, 2010 Updated Aug 9, 2010 at 7:03 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Drivers can expect to see more State Police patrolling a dangerous stretch of road on U.S. 33 between Fort Wayne and Ligonier.

The 30 miles along this stretch of U.S.33 have been the scene of five fatalities, 145 vehicle crashes, and 35 personal injuries since January 2009.

State Police officials say there have 54 fatalities total during that time. That means U.S.33 deaths account for 10% of all crash fatalities within State Police jurisdiction. Locally, they patrol the rural areas of nine Indiana counties.

Lt. Rob Townsend, ISP District Commander in Fort Wayne, says since last week, additional police Mustangs, Chargers, and motorcycles have been handing out tickets for crash causation violations.

"We want to change the character of that road. We don't want any more people to die out there on U.S. 33. So we're going to do this as long as it takes to see those statistics start going the other way."

Townsend says their intent is to change driving behavior in the area. "US 33 is an older road, an older type of engineering and construction, and through the years that traffic volume has increased. INDOT has made some changes to the road, but the primary responsibility for crashes are drivers."

He says he hopes people take notice and correct driving habits on their own, but if not, expect to see those sirens.

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