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41 people died in Lancaster County traffic incidents in 2019, which is fewer than in any year since 1962

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Route30 detour

Traffic is seen at a standstill on Route 30 east on Saturday morning, September 28, 2019. A 2-mile stretch of Route 30 is closed as crews repair the Hill Street Bridge in Mountville Borough. The road will be reopened on September 30, at 6 a.m.

Forty-one people were killed last year in 40 traffic-related incidents, according to records from the Lancaster County district attorney's office. 

The year 2019 saw the least amount of traffic-related deaths since 1962, according to newspaper records created with assistance of the district attorney's office, as well as PennDOT's annual reports.

Thirty-five fatal crashes were reported in 1962, according to LNP's records.

In 2018, 43 people were killed in traffic accidents, two more than 2019. 

There were 12 homicides in Lancaster County in 2019, one more than 2018

What were the main causes of traffic fatalities in 2019? 

Brett Hambright, spokesman for the attorney's office, said that while many of the incidents are still under investigation, the most common factors appear to be speeding, careless or reckless driving, and driving while impaired. 

At least a quarter of the fatalities were caused by impaired driving -- driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, said Hambright. 


Homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence 

Charges were filed in four incidents, Hambright said, including three cases of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.

Ian Gingerich, 24, of Conestoga, was killed Feb. 24, when police say Abraham Richard Smith, 33, of Conestoga — who police said was drunk, high on marijuana and driving 79 mph in a 35 mph zone — slammed his 2010 Camaro head-on into Gingerich's Mazda 3. The crash happened on Safe Harbor Road between Walnut Hill and Indian Marker roads.

Smith was charged June 17 with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and related offenses. A trial date has not been scheduled.

Earlier in the year, Bryan L. Knowles, 37, of Bainbridge, was charged with criminal homicide, homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle and related charges after he veered his vehicle into another car and killing Joseph Zito, 56, of Mount Joy, on Jan. 15. 

Knowles had a blood alcohol level of .316%, nearly four times the legal limit, the DA's office said. He was sentenced to 6-1/2 to 15 years in prison. 

B'Nisha M. Thompson, 22, of Newark, New Jersey, was killed Oct. 4 while traveling east on Lincoln Highway East with Juan Carlos Marrero, 25, also of Newark. Marrero drove his sedan across two lanes before striking a sidewalk and became airborne; he was driving while high on cocaine and marijuana, police said. 

Marrero was charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle and related offenses. A preliminary hearing has not been scheduled. 


Bicyclists and motorcyclists

Police also filed charges after a crash left a 70-year-old bicyclist dead. 

Douglas Sager, of Elizabethtown, was killed after he was struck by a vehicle driven by Phyllis Emery, 61, of West Donegal Township. 

Emery was charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and three summary traffic citations including texting while driving, according to court documents.  

One other bicyclist, Sarah Christine Mummert, 73, was also killed in 2019. The driver that struck Mummert, Joshua Tshudy, 38, of Lititz, was cited for failing to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist.

Six motorcyclists were killed, including one person driving a moped, said the district attorney's office. 


Pedestrians

Seven pedestrians died in collisions, said the DA's office, including two boys who were hit over the same weekend in separate incidents. 

Kerlous Naher Sorial, 12, was hit by multiple vehicles on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, while attempting to cross Marietta Avenue, from the Silver Spring Cemetery toward St. Mary Coptic Orthodox church, police said. 

Sorial's older sister, whom police did not identify, and Maria N. Saad, of Mount Joy, were also harmed in the incident. 

A 17-year-old boy was killed on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Strasburg Borough near his neighborhood, police said. 

Seven pedestrians were also killed in 2018.