Deadly weekend on the roads ahead of busy Memorial Day crowds

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – At least a handful of people were killed in wrecks over the weekend in the East, this coming just one week ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Numerous others were injured in the wrecks.

It’s worrisome for law enforcement, who are preparing for a big uptick in the number of cars on area roadways.

Trooper Doug Coley said people should expect to see a big increase in patrols, and checkpoints, especially by the beaches.

“We look at our wreck picture and where our wrecks are occurring at and try to target our manpower, and adjust that accordingly,” Coley said.

Along with doing normal speed, seat belt and aggressive driving enforcement, the Highway Patrol is also teaming up with the N.C. Wildlife Commission for their “On The Road, On The Water” campaign to cut down on drinking and driving.

“We’ll be targeting around recreational fishing areas, holding checkpoints,” he said.

These plans come as AAA estimate more than 1.2 million North Carolinians will travel at least 50 miles over the holiday weekend. That is the highest amount since 2005.

Part of the reason for the increase is low gas prices.

“They are down more, and people are just ready to travel,” said Brenda Cummings.

But the risk for crashes goes up with more drivers hitting the roadways. During the 2016 Memorial Day holiday weekend, 20 people in the state lost their lives in wrecks.

Coley said they’re hoping everyone will heed their warnings and get to their destinations alive.

“You need to slow down and be patient.”

Despite the numerous wrecks in the last few days, crashes in Pitt and Martin Counties are actually down this year. So far this year, Highway Patrol has responded to 932 wrecks, in comparison to the 1,019 they had responded to last year at this time.

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