New Year's weekend traffic crashes, arrests increase

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | 2:29 p.m. CST

 COLUMBIA — The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported an increase in New Year’s weekend arrests for driving while intoxicated, traffic crashes and injuries compared to last year. For the third year, the number of fatalities, five, is the same.

Between 6 p.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Monday, the patrol made 114 arrests for driving while intoxicated and investigated 163 traffic crashes in which 75 people were injured.

Kameron Gwin, a Columbia teenager, was one of the five fatalities reported over the weekend. Gwin’s death was the first reported traffic fatality in Missouri in 2012.

The number of traffic stops and crashes are up from the last year's three-day counting period, when the patrol made 90 DWI arrests and investigated 157 traffic crashes with 70 injuries.

Capt. Tim Hull, director of the patrol's public information and education division, said there is no specific reason for the increase.

"You’re going to see a little fluctuation like that from year to year," Hull said.

During the 2009-2010 counting period, troopers made 113 DWI arrests and investigated 319 traffic crashes with 92 injuries.

Statewide, there was a 5 percent decrease in traffic fatalities in 2011 compared to 2010, Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Ron Replogle said.

"As of Jan. 3, 2012, Missouri traffic crash fatalities totaled 773 for 2011, compared to 821 traffic crash fatalities in 2010," Replogle said in a news release. "This is the first year since 1949 that Missouri has experienced less than 800 fatalities."

Hull said the number of traffic fatalities that year was 799. One of the highest years, he said, was 2005, when 1,257 people died.

Hull attributed the overall decrease in traffic crashes to the patrol's educational and enforcement efforts across the state, including visiting schools, public service announcements, sobriety checkpoints and aggressive driving campaigns.

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