I-Team: As 100mph crashes kill hundreds of Ohio drivers, law treats all speeding the same

Matching a deadly nationwide speeding car crash trend, an I-Team investigation uncovered how hundreds of people are dying in Ohio car crashes involving speeding more than 100 miles per hour, while discovering state law continues to treat all speeding the same.

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One Family’s Story

In the early morning hours, late last August, Springfield High School senior Destiny Wells was killed when her car crashed along Springfield’s Old Clifton Road. A State Patrol report showed excessive speeding and not wearing a seatbelt were crash factors.

Destiny’s brother, Dae’ Shawn Jackson, said she was his family’s rock.

Before she died Jackson said, “She gave my baby boy a kiss bye. She got to spend time with her favorite niece Ava.”

Destiny’s Grandmother, Vickie Arnold, told the I-Team, she is convinced a fight inside the car also played a role in the crash, and believes Destiny was not recklessly speeding.

Jaskson said his sister’s death has been devastating for him and his family.

“You’ve got to appreciate those little moments that you did have,” Jackson said.

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Speeding Crashes Continue To Increase

Ohio State Highway Patrol numbers, obtained by the I-Team, showed last year Wells was one of 362 deadly speed related crashes. Already this year, there have been 23 more deadly speeding crashes than this time last year.

Federal numbers show those deadly Ohio car crashes were part of the more than 20,000 people killed in the first half of 2021. That is an 18 percent increase from 2020 and the largest number of projected deaths since 2006.

Addressing the matter, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “We’re going to push out the first national roadway safety strategy to look at how every part of the system can contribute until we really are moving toward where it’s exceptionally rare for anybody to even know of any killed in a car crash.”

When you look at Ohio speeding tickets overall, almost 65,000 more drivers have received them this year, 632 of them were going more than 100 miles per hour. Those figures include 90 people on Clark County, and 86 in Montgomery County.

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State Patrol Using Planes To Crackdown

“You get a lot of people who feel comfortable going 20 miles or over the speed limit,” said OSHP Sgt. Christina Hayes said.

Sgt. Hayes said the State Patrol has seen this speeding trend not just continue, but grow, since the COVID-19 Pandemic began.

“The roads were less traveled, and they were able to get places quicker. And they just continued that,” Sgt. Hayes said.

To crack down, Hayes said troopers are using planes, which is the way the fastest super speeder she’s ever seen, going 140 miles per hour, was caught.

“It’s easy for us to see that. Especially in the plane because they don’t see,” Sgt. Hayes said.

Ohio Has No ‘Super Speeder’ Law

Georgia, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon all have strict laws that address super speeding, often called Super Speeder Laws. However, Ohio law treats all speeding, including super speeding, the same. Going more than 100 mph in Ohio is considered a misdemeanor.

The I-Team asked Sen. Niraj. Antani, R-Miamisburg, who sits on The Ohio Senate’s Transportation Committee if Ohio law needs to be changed.

Sen. Antoni said despite the increase in speeding numbers, the issue has not come up before, but he thinks it is time.

“What we can do is create mandatory prison time within a misdemeanor,” Sen. Antani said. “Too often we inflate misdemeanor and felony. But a misdemeanor 1 can be a hefty punishment.”

Remembering his younger sister, Dae’Shawn Jackson hopes no other family will have to experience the pain his continues to feel everyday.

“She was not someone who made dumb decisions often. So it was just like she was the smarter one out of the family. And it was like, yeah, she made that. And now this happened,” Jackson said..

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