Rate of deadly traffic crashes in '11 worries police

Concerned by a surge in traffic fatalities in Wichita, police on Tuesday urged drivers to be more alert and cautious.

Thirteen people died in 12 accidents through the end of April — an increase over the same period last year, Deputy Police Chief Nelson Mosley said. Seven died in alcohol-related collisions.

"This has been a particularly difficult year" for fatalities, he said.

Among those killed was 5-year-old Amber Randolph, who died when a pickup flew over the concrete median separating eastbound and westbound lanes of Kellogg on Feb. 12 and smashed into the sedan her mother was driving.

Two men face criminal charges in connection with that crash.

An analysis of the deadly crashes so far this year showed road conditions weren't a factor, and that they have occurred all over town at all times of the day.

The primary contributing factors included failure to yield right of way, excessive speed, inattentive driving, running a red light or driving while impaired, Mosley said.

In other words: bad driving behavior.

"We all need to be reminded that driving in a courteous, safe manner is our best defense" against being in a fatal collision, Mosley said.

Special traffic enforcement efforts already have been held this year on Kellogg and Broadway, he said, and motorists can expect more as the year goes on.

There were 28 traffic fatalities in 2010, 21 of which involved alcohol.

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