I-Team: How safe is stretch of busy highway where two officers have died?

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The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating a stretch of I-90 where two officers have been killed and 106,000 vehicles pass every day.

We took a look at a few miles between West 117th in Cleveland and the Hilliard exit in Rocky River.

This week Cleveland officer David Fahey was killed by a hit-and-run driver as Fahey handled traffic duties related to another accident scene where a driver died. And last September, in that same area, trooper Kenneth Velez was killed by a driver police say was high on drugs.

The Ohio Highway Patrol says last year, just in the stretch, 193 accidents took place, a big increase over the year before.

Meantime, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) provided the I-Team with an analysis of crashes in that section of highway from the last 5 years. About 1/3 involved “sideswipe passing," nearly 1/3 were “rear end” crashes, and nearly half happened at speeds of less than 50 miles per hour. Hundreds of crashes happened along on- and off-ramps. And a few other crashes in recent years have also turned deadly.

Despite all that, this section of highway is not even close to being among the worst for having more crashes than expected.

ODOT does formal studies of the worst areas. We’re told this one ranks way down at number 166.

Still, ODOT says a safety committee reviewed the area and found the lighting to be good, the roadway flat, and no concerns about flooding or ponding of water when it rains. So the state does not see any immediate safety improvements to be made.

Drivers we met tell us all of this is a reminder to watch out for the other guy perhaps even more than before. One woman told us, “They tailgate you. And they panic, speed past you.
I try to drive defensively, you know?"

Read more on Officer Fahey, here.

Read more on Trooper Velez, here.