MEMPHIS, Tenn.– There have been more than 200 fatal crashes in Memphis so far this year, leaving hundreds to mourn the loss of a loved one. That number is significantly higher than this time last year, and there’s new concern as we look ahead to the holidays.
This week, a family is grieving after the loss of an 11-year-old boy. He died this weekend in Whitehaven after he was hit running across the street to a store at Millbranch and Holmes. Police charged the driver in the case.
“We get this call, and my little cousin is gone, 11,” a family member said. “He was a very intelligent young man.”
The boy’s family now one of the hundreds in the city hurting after a loved one was killed in some kind of vehicle collision.
“There’s a lot of homework that needs to be done here in the city of Memphis. As we look at the crashes that occur across the state Memphis is leading in each category,” said Colonel Keith Watson with the Memphis Police Department.
So far this year there have been 205 crashes where someone died. That’s significantly up since this time last year when 130 people died.
“That 205 number, it includes motorcycles, it includes bicycles, it includes pedestrians, it includes vehicles both small and large,” Watson said.
Watson says some of the spots they see problems are Shelby Drive between Getwell and Airways, the Lamar corridor and the Hickory Hill area of Winchester.
Watson believes there are multiple reasons we see high numbers, such as distracted driving, drowsy driving and people not taking their time. Sometimes it’s the vehicle itself.
“All from brakes to tires, to the windshield, windshield wipers and things like that,” Watson said.
He also believes the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the problem.
“I just think people have had cabin fever, they’ve been in the house,” Watson said. “The speeds have increased.”
As we look ahead to the holidays and the roads become even more congested, he urges everyone to slow down, wear a seatbelt and maintain 12 seconds of space between yourself and other vehicles.
The colonel says the Memphis Police Department also has several upcoming campaigns to encourage and monitor safe driving.