Troopers recognize Clark County couple for buckling up during deadly crash

CLARK COUNTY — Ohio State Highway Patrol recognized two people from Clark County for wearing their seatbelts during a deadly crash earlier this year.

Troopers welcomed Phillip and Emily Whetstone to the “Saved by the Belt” Club on Wednesday for wearing their seatbelts during a nine-car crash, that killed two people.

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The crash happened July 5 in Shelby County. During the crash, the Whetstone’s car overturned.

OSHP Lieutenant Joseph Gebhart said their seatbelts kept them alive.

“Because they made the choice to wear their seatbelt, they are here with us today,” Gebhart said.

Gebhart told News Center 7 that the “Saved by the Belt” Club is a “way of recognizing individuals where there’s a serious crash and [troopers] believe that wearing the seatbelt made a difference.”

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It’s something OSHP take seriously. In 2021, nearly 62,000 people have been pulled over by troopers for not wearing their seatbelts. That has been a 44 percent increase from 2020.

Gebhart said almost 600 people were killed in crashes when seatbelts were available, but individuals chose not to wear them.

“It only takes a second and some people initially say ‘they are well uncomfortable,’ or ‘its inconvenient,’ but the reality is it can make a huge difference,” Gebhart said.