Wichita Falls sees increase in deadly crashes

A woman passed away from injuries related to this July crash on Old Iowa Park Road, according...
A woman passed away from injuries related to this July crash on Old Iowa Park Road, according to the Wichita Falls Police Department.(KAUZ)
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - There have been 18 deadly wrecks in Wichita Falls just this year and half of those involved motorcycles. This is a drastic increase compared to previous years

To compare, there were only four deadly crashes in 2020 and eight in 2021. The Wichita Falls Police Department isn’t sure what’s behind the spike, but it has them concerned.

“We only had one motorcycle fatality in 2021,” Jeff Hughes, WFPD public information officer, said. “Vehicle fatalities including motorcycle fatalities are actually up significantly then they have been over the last couple years.”

We’re now at 18 deadly crashes for the year in Wichita Falls. That’s more than double the number of deadly crashes in 2021. It’s not just here, officials said they’re seeing a rise in fatal crashes across the state.

“We use to hover around 3,600 people in the whole state dying on our roadways every year, but things changed for 2020 and 2021,” Adele Lewis, public information officer for TxDOT in Wichita Falls, said. “It looks like 2022 is going to surpass the 2021 record number.”

Last year, 4,480 people died statewide in crashes. 52 of those lived in our district. More than half were not wearing a seatbelt or were driving under the influence.

“We know that in our district it is 50% and sometimes in some of our counties it is over 60% of their wrecks involve alcohol or drugs,” Lewis said.

In Wichita Falls, officials said there’s no particular area that is more dangerous than others. All the crashes have happened in different locations.

“As of right now, taking a look at that, there is not a lot of correlation,” Hughes said. “I mean Southwest Parkway, but various places on Southwest Parkway. Really what we are seeing so far is it is heavily traveled roadways.”

Because of the uptick, TxDOT officials said they have and will continue to improve roadways to prevent more wrecks from happening.

“The last several years and going forward in 2022 and 2023, we are putting in more cable barriers in the middle of our freeways to prevent crossover wrecks, replacing our signs because reflectivity can go down in them,” Lewis said. “Every year, there is striping contracts to refresh strips on our roadways and repairs are constantly made.”

Officials said many of these deadly crashes were preventable. They emphasize that you can only control how you drive, so if you eliminate the distractions that will result in fewer wrecks.