By RYAN DUNN
The recent warmer temperatures may cap a long stretch of snowy, icy weather, and that is welcome news for area drivers.
Vehicle crashes during January and February increased significantly compared to the same period last year, according to both the Findlay Police Department and Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.
City police responded to 201 crashes in those two months, up from 146 in 2013, said Lt. Robert Ring.
Twenty-six of those crashes involved injuries, Ring said.
Officers also tallied 49 crashes where drivers exchange information after typically minor collisions. That figure is up from 37 last year.
A growing number of crash investigations diverts officers from other work, Ring said.
“The increase in time-taking and filing the reports cuts down on the amount of time where proactive enforcement can take place,” Ring said, “so citation numbers are down slightly.”
Hancock County sheriff’s deputies responded to 174 crashes in January and February, up from 131 during the period last year.
On several days when bad weather caused the courthouse to be shut down, deputies assigned there assisted with other responsibilities, said Lt. Cris Bell.
Otherwise, the additional crash work involved overtime, said Bell.
“When large storms were forecast, we pre-scheduled overtime, or when weather turned bad unexpectedly, we had deputies stay late or come in early to handle the extra load,” he said.
Overtime was up about 45 percent in January and February compared to the same period last year, Bell said.
“This extra coverage allowed us to still be able to handle all of the normal responsibilities,” Bell said.