Study underway to address crash concerns on I-80 - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Study underway to address crash concerns on I-80

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HUBBARD TOWNSHIP, Ohio- A local municipal court judge was frank in open court when describing how traffic or highway construction on Interstate 80 in Trumbull County could have played a role in a fatal crash.

"Now I don't know if the highway was improperly constructed when it was built, the construction zone was improperly set up, but the result was a terrible tragic accident," said Judge Jeffery Adler, Girard Municipal Court.

The driver of a semi that crashed into an SUV in May of 2010 was sentenced Monday. Eugine White was sentenced to 90 days house arrest, five years probation with a five year license suspension and he was ordered to pay a $500 fine.

It was one of three deadly accidents on I-80 in the county that year.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the almost 12 miles stretch is a magnet for accidents with a total of 241 crashes in 2009, 259 in 2010 and 287 in 2011.

"There's no one single factor that we have determined that have caused these crashes. Most of them have been driver inattention, whether it be distraction by cell phone or texting or reaching for something in the vehicle," said Sergeant Bill Bancroft, Warren Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Heavier commercial truck traffic entering and exiting weigh stations is also a factored in to why the interstate is often tough for travel.

"You're seeing more commercial activity than we have due to the increase in the economic situation as well as the gas play that we're seeing across the state," said Representative Sean O'Brien said, Ohio's 46th district.

With more wheels hitting the road, Sgt. Bancroft says his post is increasing its patrol presence during busy drive times and the number of commercial truck inspections.

He's not aware of any changes to the interstate's construction in recent years, but that could change.

The Ohio Department of Transportation tells 21 News it recently began combing through the county's crash data to determine possible improvements.

ODOT Spokesman Justin Chesnic says they're examining weather and road conditions, lighting and times of day that accidents take place in search of a common thread to prevent accidents from happening.

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