WESTFIELD, Ind. – There was an uptick in deadly crashes in Westfield in 2018 and the city wants to know why. In a new campaign, Mayor Andy Cook and the police department are working together to make roads safer.
Overall crime in Westfield went down last year but the number of car crashes went up.
In 2017, zero people died in car crashes. In 2018, six people were killed. Personal injury crashes also increased from 87 to 95.
Captain Charles Hollowell with the Westfield Police Department says he often sees people driving while distracted. He believes a majority of crashes in the city are because of people not keeping their eyes on the road.
"Our job at the City of Westfield is to make sure all of our visitors and all of our residents have a safe environment," he said.
That is why the department is working with the mayor's office on a new SafeRoads campaign. They are looking at data to figure out why accidents are happening.
"A lot of attention is being given across the country across the state and we are going to do it right here in the city of Westfield," Mayor Andy Cook said.
This mission is personal to Mayor Cook. His 14-year-old grandson died last summer when he says a distracted driver hit the car the teen was riding in.
"I don’t want any parent or grandparent to ever have to go through this," he said.
They've identified 10 intersections in the city that are hot spots for accidents. Mayor Cook, who is running for re-election this year, wants to improve signage and roadway markings. He's also already met with several utility companies to talk about moving poles close to the street.
He says people are getting hurt or even killed after driving off the roadway and hitting a utility pole.
"This state is plagued with this phenomenon of placing these huge immovable utility polices just several feet off of our pavement," he said.
Five of the top 10 accident locations in Westfield are along SR 32. INDOT says they are always looking to work with public safety officials to make thoroughfares safer.