A second video, from FCPD, appears below as well if some can’t hear the above.
The Floyd County Police Department held a news briefing Tuesday afternoon to address this year’s increase in serious injury crashes and fatalities. Led by Sgt. Chris Fincher, the agency charted accidents so far this year, including three primary causes. Those accidents have claimed 13 lives to date. Those causes:
- Aggressive driving: Speeding; following too closely; improper land change.
- Distracted driving: Handsfree violation (cell phones); failure to yield; failure to maintain a lane.
- Impaired driving: “DUI is more than just alcohol; illicit drugs and prescription meds,” too.
Ficher also said the top five roads for accidents this year are:
- Alabama Highway (especially as people speed up to 55 mph after leaving city limits).
- Turner McCall (city).
- Ga. 1 Loop.
- Martha Berry Highway (U.S. 27 north).
- New Calhoun Highway (Ga. 53, which also has an acceleration issue as motorists leave city limits).
The graphic below illustrates additional concerns and accident factors:
Rome Police accident report for January-April also documents increase: On Wednesday, members of the Rome Public Works Committee/Traffic Commission/Transit Committee will get the above report from Police Chief Denise Downer-McKenzie. The last two columns are what’s critical. One point to remember: We were in the opening months of the pandemic in March and April 2020 so travel was down):
- Overall accidents in the city jumped from 630 to 759, or 20.5%
- While two more injuries occurred this year over last (234 to 232), fatalities climbed from two to six. (The county report includes the Rome fatalities)
- DUI arrests are up more than 100%, from 46 to 94.
- Total cases almost doubled, from 2,055 to 3,903.
- As with the county, the no. 1 issue in city wrecks has been following to closely.
- Another common factor: The prime time for accidents is on the commute home.
Below: Our April 28 report on a sudden surge in area traffic deaths.
Barely four months old, 2021 already is one of the more deadly years on Rome and Floyd County roads.
At least 12 fatalities have been recorded through Tuesday, including six in the city of Rome and six in the county. Two collisions have killed two people each, including a father and son on Feb. 28 and then an early Thursday accident near Berry College that killed both drivers from Rome.
Between 2014 and 2019, Rome/Floyd County averaged almost 15 traffic deaths a year. The lowest for the entire year was in 2017 and the highest, 24, in 2018. There were 15 fatalities in 2019, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports. We’ll have 2020 figures later today. Statewide, despite the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, traffic deaths were 1,615, the highest on Georgia roads since 1,641 in 2007.
Among the fatalities was this predawn accident, on April 19, which claimed the life of a 54-year-old Rockmart woman, Denise L. Laaziz. According to the accident report from the Floyd County Police Department:
- Brittani N. Courson of Silver Creek was driving a 2017 Traverse, headed east on Old Rockmart Road. She was exiting from a curve to the right.
- Laaziz, driving a 2001 Honda CRV, was traveling west and also was exiting a curve to the right.
- Courson attempted to stop in her lane of travel. She was prevented from leaving the south edge of the roadway by a guardrail. Laaziz crossed into the eastbound lane of
travel, striking Courson’s car partially head on. The Chevy rotated counterclockwise approximately 45 degrees and came to rest. The CRV deflected from the point of initial contact and entered the ditch on the north edge of the roadway.
- A witness stated she met a truck headed west that appeared to have run off the edge of the roadway to avoid the CRV. She also said she saw the CRV cross the center line and strike Courson’s car.
- Courson and a passenger were treated for minor injuries.
- Road conditions were dry at the time and the weather was clear.
A look at this year’s fatal acidents includes:
- May 3: One dead following on accident on Wax Road.
- April 22: Two die in a head-on collision in front of Berry College that shut down Martha Berry for three hours.
- April 19: A Rockmart woman dies in an early morning collision on Old Rockmart Road.
- March 12: A 19-year-old woman died in a three-vehicle accident near the Saga Inn on Martha Berry.
- March 4: A motorist died in a one-vehicle accident on North Avenue in Rome.
- Feb. 28: A father and son, 61 and 18, died when their car was hit by what police say was another speeding motorist.
- Jan. 29: A 53-year-old Rome man died in an accident on Ga. 20 near Old River Road.
- Jan. 15: A Rome woman, 38, died after being struck while walking on Cave Spring Road.
- Jan. 13: One died in a hit-and-run on South McLin Street in Rome.
- Jan. 7: A pedestrian fatality on Gadsden Road.
- Jan. 4: A 23-year-old woman died in an accident on Ga. 156 and Floyd Springs Road Monday morning.