(WKBN) — The latest crash happened in the early morning hours Monday: 28-year-old Matthew Bell of Petrolia in Butler County was killed when his car slid off Route 173 just south of Grove City.
Authorities say he and a passenger were thrown from the vehicle as it flipped over several times and hit a number of trees. The force of the impact knocked off all four of the car’s tires but neither man was wearing a seatbelt.
“And it’s not just about you the driver wearing your seatbelt, it’s about everyone else in the vehicle wearing their seatbelt too,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Ryan Purpura.
Besides the crash in Mercer County, there were two accidents Sunday on this side of the state line around 1:15 in the morning: a crash in Portage County claimed the life of Ernest Spencer of Deerfield and then shortly after 10 p.m. a driver on the Ohio Turnpike in Springfield Township died when he was thrown from his car. Neither of those victims were buckled up either.
Despite all the money spent on public service announcements and other promotions to have people wear their seatbelts, a lot of people haven’t gotten the message.
The State Highway Patrol has issued more than half a million citations for seatbelt violations since 2017 and of the 24,000 seatbelt-related crashes just this year more than 300 fatalities were recorded and more than 7,000 injuries.
“We look back and we just wish that they would’ve worn their safety belt and that would have saved their lives or prevented some serious injury,” said Purpura.
Troopers stress wearing seatbelts should be a habit every time we get in a car.