Rising number of vehicle assaults concerning police

DAYTON — Dayton police are warning people about the growing number of people being injured in vehicle assaults that has investigators concerned.

Erin Dillon, of Dayton, said she sees too many people speed up and down residential streets.

“People just need to be more aware, not everyone drives around here in this neighborhood. A lot of people walk,” Dillon said.

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Dillon expressed her concern while looking at a memorial built for Traci Taylor, a 49-year-old woman was killed after she was hit by a SUV on Linden Ave. on November 3. Police said the driver of the SUV, identified as Crystal Stokes, 37, ran from her vehicle, leaving behind her own dogs, to get away from the scene. Stokes is now facing charges of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Sgt. Gordon Cairns, Dayton Police, said. told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell that police are seeing some drivers, in road rage or domestic violence type situations, use their cars when they get angry.

“We do see people using their vehicle as a weapon and a vehicle is a deadly weapon,” Cairns said.

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That type situation ended with an officer-involved shooting in July 2021 when, police say, an argument between two women escalated when one of the women drove her car over the curb towards the other woman. Officers on scene fire a shot, hitting the woman driving in the shoulder. That driver now faces an aggravated assault charge.

Cairns said crimes committed with cars are treated the same as crimes using a gun or knife.

“By using a vehicle, it doesn’t reduce the crime, it’s using a weapon,” Cairns said. “You’ve still committed a felonious assault on a person.”

Police said it is not just the lives of the victims and their families that are impacted when there is a problem. The people behind the wheel impact their own lives in the form of possibly facing penalties or prison time.

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