Checkpoint cracks down on deadly driving habits

By Jonathan Delozier -



One intoxicated driver was charged Sept. 1 at the Lorain County OVI Task Force’s first checkpoint held in Wellington.

Police chief Tim Barfield said 307 vehicles passed through the checkpoint at the corner of South Main Street and Cemetery Road.

At village council’s Sept. 4 meeting, he said the Ohio State Highway Patrol has called southern Lorain County the most dangerous area for local drivers.

Pamphlets encouraging safe and sober driving were handed out to each driver at the checkpoint. Barfield said a car carrying five juveniles, none of whom had driver’s licenses, was also stopped.

“That car was coming up at us really fast from the south,” he said. “They saw the police and hit their breaks at the last minute. We had two pretty close calls like that and a few cars with no lights on.”

Many — close to all — of these fatal accidents are alcohol related, said Barfield.

“We weren’t interested in arresting a lot of people with this checkpoint. We were running it as an educational type of program. We don’t have a problem with someone having a drink. We do have a problem, though, with having a funeral.”

According to the highway patrol, there have been 23 fatal accidents this year in Lorain County as of Sept. 4 with 10 occurring south of Oberlin and five on Rt. 58 in and near Wellington.

Thirteen of 2017’s crashes are classified as “rural” and 12 were determined to involve intoxication.

Those numbers are on pace to approach last year’s county total of 35 and eclipse 2015’s final tally of 29.

In 2016, six fatal crashes occurred south of Oberlin but none on Rt. 58. Three occurred on Rt. 18.

The previous year, five occurred south of Oberlin: one on Rt. 58 and two on Rt. 18.

Across all of Lorain County, 17 fatal crashes in 2016 and 15 in 2015 were tied to alcohol or drugs.

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.


By Jonathan Delozier