Arizona to test wrong-way driver detection: Could tech save lives here?

Published: Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 10:36 AM

Dayton Police have released 2 911 calls of a fiery crash that left one person dead Sunday afternoon. Authorities said it appears that a wrong-way driver slammed head-on into a semi tanker truck causing a large fire and an explosion.

Wrong-way crashes account for about 1 percent of all traffic fatalities but are about 100 times more deadly than other collisions, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. 

The Federal Highway Administration estimates 300-400 people are killed on average each year by drivers in the wrong lanes, usually at night with many impaired by alcohol and drugs.

Southwest Ohio has seen several wrong-way crashes in recent years. 

» RELATED: Fatal wrong-way crashes increasing in Ohio 

Workers in Arizona will begin building in August the nation’s first-of-its-kind system to detect wrong-way vehicles. 

The $3.7 million pilot project along 15 miles of Interstate 17 will employ thermal cameras to detect wrong-way drivers on an off-ramp, which will trigger an illuminated wrong-way sign for the driver as well as alert authorities. The signal will also prompt a message on overhead signs to alert area motorists. Additional cameras will be placed at mile intervals to help troopers plan a response, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. 

Ohio had planned to pilot a program within recent years with a company called SpeedInfo to test whether highway sensors along I-70 could detect wrong-way drivers and alert law enforcement. But the test was delayed as the technology at the time needed improvement. 

» RELATED: Wrong-way crashes often deadly, hard to prevent 

Four recent collisions in the Miami Valley demonstrate the lethality of wrong-way crashes: 

Emergency repair work continued I-75 in Dayton on Monday after a fiery fatal crash closed the highway on Sunday, April 30. A wrong-way driver crashed, head-on, with a gasoline tanker that caught fire. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Fiery downtown Dayton crash: The wrong-way driver in an April 30 fiery crash in Dayton, Andrew T. Brunsman, had alcohol and marijuana in his system at the time, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Brunsman, 30, of Beavercreek, plowed head-on into a semi hauling a tanker of gasoline. The collision and following explosions sent fireballs skyward and plumes of black smoke pouring over Dayton neighborhoods north of downtown. The tanker and its contents burned for more than an hour. Authorities shut down the entire highway. Pavement was damaged by the inferno at the accident site, causing delay to reopening some southbound lanes. 

» RELATED: I-75 repairs will take days after deadly wrong-way crash 

» RELATED: Driver in fiery wrong-way crash had drugs in system 

UPDATED as of Aug. 23, 2016Five people were killed in a wrong-way, two-car crash on Interstate 75 in downtown Dayton on Feb. 13, 2016. DEANGELO BYRD / STAFFORIGINALThe scene of a deadly crash on I-75 in downtown Dayton early Saturday morning that killed five people. DeAngelo Byrd/Staff(HANDOUT)

Band members killed: In February of 2016, five people, including several local musicians, were killed in a wrong-way crash blamed on alcohol on Interstate 75. The dead included three members of a Dayton rock band CounterFlux and a 61-year-old man who had been arrested for OVI just 48 hours before the crash. The young victims included four friends: Kyle Canter, 23, of New Carlisle; Earl Miller II, 27, of New Carlisle; Vashti Nicole Brown, 29, of Dayton; and Devin Bachmann, 26, of Huber Heights. James Pohlabeln, a 61-year-old retiree from Dayton, was the driver of the other car. He had been released from jail just 33 hours earlier in connection with a separate suspected drunken driving crash

» RELATED: I-75 CRASH: Wrong way driver had OVI day before crash 

» RELATED: Five dead on I-75: What you should remember a year later 

» RELATED: Highway shutdowns: A dozen times weather, explosions and flying cars brought traffic to a standstill 

Nazif Shteiwi, 61, and his wife, Halla Odeh Shteiwi, 55, died April 8 in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 75 in Cincinnati. CONTRIBUTED(Submitted photo)

Parents of four die: A Fairfield couple died April 8, 2016, when a wrong-way driver, who also died, struck their car on Interstate 75 in Evandale. Nazif Shteiwi, 61, and his wife, Halla Odeh Shteiwi, 55, were returning from a family function in Kentucky when hit by Kory Wilson, 30, of Springfield Twp. Wilson had a blood alcohol level 2.5 times the legal limit in Ohio, said Hamilton County Coroner’s Office. Witnesses said Wilson was driving the correct way on I-75 seconds before the crash, then abruptly turned around. The Shteiwis, who immigrated from Jordan 40 years ago, had four children in college, the family said.

Mad River Township firefighters extinguish the flames that consumed a tractor trailer and car after the vehicles collided head-on in April 2015, on eastbound I-70 near the Enon Road entrance. The driver of the car, Christopher Coleman of Xenia, was killed in the crash but the truck driver escaped before the rig caught fire. Eastbound I-70 was closed for several hours because of the accident. Bill Lackey/Staff(Bill Lackey/Staff)
Freeway suicide: On April 14, 2015, Chris Coleman passed through an emergency U-turn drive to the oncoming lanes of I-70 near the 48 mile marker in Clark County. He drove the wrong way on the shoulder before veering into the path of an oncoming tractor-trailer, according to witnesses. Coleman’s Mazda exploded on impact and he died at the scene. The semi driver escaped without injury. After an investigation, the coroner ruled that Coleman committed suicide

» RELATED: I-70 crash: Wrong-way driver’s death a suicide 

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Blue Angels thrill crowd with performance

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 4:38 PM


            The Navy Blue Angels set to headline at the Vectren Dayton Air Show. Expect traffic delays around the Dayton International Airport. CONTRIBUTED.
The Navy Blue Angels set to headline at the Vectren Dayton Air Show. Expect traffic delays around the Dayton International Airport. CONTRIBUTED.

For the first time since 2013, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels on Saturday roared aggressively through cloudy skies in front of tens of thousands of spectators at the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Crowds cheered as the Blue Angels maneuvered through complex motions and rolled their aircraft 360 degrees. Marvin Napier of Huber Heights brought his two young children to the air show for the first time so they could see the magic of the Blue Angels flying flawlessly in formation.

“The rain is better than 95 degree heat where you’re sweating,” he said. “With the clouds, the planes fly lower so it’s a win-win.”

PHOTOS: Check out the planes at the 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show

The 44th Vectren Dayton Air Show, one of the region’s largest events of the year, drew in heavy crowds. overcast skies and some sporadic rain before noon. The show kicked off at noon with a full schedule of performers, including the U.S. Air Force F-22A Raptor, TORA! TORA! TORA!, aerobatic pilot Vicky Benzing and Sean D. Tucker.

“We’re thrilled the weather broke and it’s been a beautiful day for an air show,” said Shiela Wallace, air show spokeswoman. Air show officials would not comment on crowd attendance until after the weekend is over, she said.

Military jet teams like the Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels are the biggest draw for air show crowds and organizers bank on their appearance to bring in tens of thousands of people at the Dayton International Airport. They can draw up to 65,000 or more spectators when the military teams show off.

Crowds jumped to their feet to gawk and take pictures as the F-22A Raptor pulled into vertical maneuvers and flew backwards.

The Blue Angels are expected to fly more than 30 air shows in the 2018 season. The team flies six blue-and-yellow F/A-18 Hornet jets as close as 18 inches apart in aerial formations. The team has flown the Hornet jets for three decades, the longest of any aircraft in its 72-year history.

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Children plugged their ears with their fingers to block out the deafening rumble of the Blue Angels, while other spectators held up their phones to capture video evidence of the Navy squadron’s skills. “Thunder, feel the thunder,” played through the speakers as the formation ripped by the crowd.

Scott Buchanan, chairman of the United States Air and Trade Show Board of Trustees, said the air show takes about a year to plan. The show is a huge boost for the local economy, with thousands of people spending money at hotels, restaurants and local businesses. Buchanan said he doesn’t expect the weather to have a huge impact the number of spectators who come out this weekend.

“It’s really an opportunity to showcase what Dayton has brought to aviation,” he said.

Chris and Sandy Porter of Bloomington, Ind., arrived early to secure front-row seats at the air show. Sitting in a blue and white U.S.A. lawn chair, Sandy Porter said she and her husband made the drive Friday night to meet with her family members from Columbus.

“It’s more just about being together with family,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

In 2017, an estimated 44,000 people attended the air show – down 30 percent from expectations, organizers reported. In 2016, the show drew about 51,000 people. Organizers blamed the low attendance at the 2017 air show on the cancellation of the Air Force Thunderbirds as the headline act, due to a crash, and record rainfall Friday that caused parking issues.

Air show forecast: Warm with chance for showers, storms

RTA offers express shuttle service to Vectren Dayton Air Show

How to avoid traffic and parking headaches at this weekend’s Vectren Dayton Air Show

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Warmer temperatures return next week

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:36 AM
Updated: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 4:33 PM

Isolated downpours with a few rumbles of thunder.

Lingering clouds will make for a breezy day, but warmer temperatures will return next week, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. 

>>Dayton Air Show forecast

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST:

  • Stray shower this evening
  • Slight chance for rain Sunday
  • Warmer temperatures next week

>>WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

Tonight: A couple of stray showers will still be possible this evening, but most areas look to stay dry. Clouds will break more overnight as temperatures drop into the middle 60s.

>>LISTEN: Dayton Air Show Chance of Podcast

Sunday: It’ll be a touch warmer as most of us get in the lower 80s. Partly cloudy skies are expected and while most will stay dry, a stray shower or storms cannot be ruled out.

Monday: Mostly sunny skies are expected. Highs will be in the lower 80s.

Tuesday: A dry start is expected with highs in the middle 80s. The chance for rain returns in the evening.

>>Moon and Jupiter close this weekend

Wednesday: A few showers are likely, maybe a few storms as well. Highs will be in the middle 80s.

Thursday: A hot day is expected with partly cloudy skies. Highs will be in the upper 80s.

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Bicyclist killed by vehicle near Middletown park

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 3:54 PM

Middletown ped strike

A bicyclist is dead after being struck by a vehicle near Sunset Park.

Middletown Police Maj. Dave Birk said a man in his 60s was struck by the vehicle near Fisher Avenue and Sunset Road near the park.

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The collision occurred at approximately 2:20 p.m. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating.

We will report more when information becomes available.

A bicyclist is dead after being struck by a vehicle near Middletown’s Sunset Park. Middletown Police Major Dave Birk said the person was struck down by the vehicle near Fisher Avenue at Sunset Park.(Staff Writer)

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Police are asking for your help finding missing endangered teen in Springboro

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 3:56 PM

Police are seeking the public’s  help to find a missing endangered teen. 

>>Amber Alert canceled after 2 Urbana boys found safe

Frista Gibbons, 15, was last seen around 2:30 p.m. Friday leaving her home on foot, according to the Springboro Police Department.

Gibbons is stands 5 feet 7 inches, weighs 100 pounds, has short brown hair and hazel eyes.

She was last seen wearing a light blue zip-up hoodie with a knee length leopard-print skirt. She was carrying a black backpack, according to a release.

Police said Gibbons may be with her juvenile boyfriend from Camden, Ohio. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the Springboro Police Department at 937-748-0611.

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