Deadly crashes on the rise in Arizona

Posted at 7:50 AM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 09:50:20-05

Frank Hooper, Ella Hooper, Steven Hooper, Janice Mertens, and Secundina Fabela-- those are just the most recent names of hundreds of people who have died this year while traveling on Arizona roads.

"Something is wrong with some of these crashes," Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Alberto Gutier said.

Gutier also said that 99 more people have died in crashes this year than around this time in 2014. He doesn't know exactly what's causing the rise in fatal crashes, but he suspects the usual culprits of alcohol, drugs, lack of proper restraint, and bad driving.

"I see it every day on the streets and freeways. People are in such a hurry," Gutier said.

To try and cut down on the number of crashes Gutier’s office has been meeting with law enforcement officials from around the state.

The plan is to increase funding for police patrols, D.U.I. campaigns, and car safety seat checks.

"One fatality is too many, and we need to figure out a way to reduce it. But the one thing that works is enforcement,” Gutier said.

Fabela, the Hoopers and the Mertens were killed Sunday night during a head-on collision near the intersection of Hunt Highway and Dobson Road in Sun Lakes.

Maricopa County sheriff's deputies are investigating whether either speed or impairment may have been a factor in the crash.