updated fatals graphic

Jim Albright, 83, was struck by a car and killed while gardening with his wife in his yard in Lancaster Township.

Billy Beats, 56, died when a tree fell on the truck he was driving in Martic Township.

Dominic Stitely, 21, was killed when Orlando R. Ortiz, 37, intentionally ran over him with a vehicle, authorities allege.

They were among the 52 people killed in traffic crashes in Lancaster County in 2015, according to records kept by LNP and the district attorney's office. That’s nine fewer than last year, but only two below the average for the last seven years.

“The majority of the deaths continue to be caused by operator error, predominantly those caused by alcohol impairment and unsafe speeds,” Assistant District Attorney Christine Wilson said. In recent years, distracted driving was a factor in some crashes, but the most significant factor continues to be alcohol.

Eight pedestrians were killed in wrecks here in 2015, down from 11 in 2014. That was the highest number since 2000, when 12 pedestrians were killed.

Six motorcycle crashes killed seven people.

Only one wreck in 2015 killed a child under 18 years old: David Weiser, 13, was struck by a car on March 9 in the 400 block of East High Street, Elizabethtown, as he walked home from school.

There were 50 fatal accidents in 2015. Two of the wrecks each killed two people.

Zachery L. Martin, 25, of Gap, died Aug. 27 from injuries suffered in a 2007 traffic accident, according to Lisa Potteiger, Dauphin County’s chief deputy coroner. He was a passenger in a car racing in Paradise Township, state police said. Martin starred in the last season of the Discovery Channel series "Amish Mafia," which aired earlier this year.

Gardener struck

Albright and his wife of more than six decades, Ellen, were spreading mulch in a flowerbed May 1 in front of their home at Spencer Avenue and Hamilton Park Drive, just off Columbia Avenue west of Lancaster.

A motorist ran a stop sign and struck another car, which then careened into the Albrights’ yard, striking Jim Albright.

Falling tree causes wreck

Billy Beats, of Pequea, was driving a pickup truck west in the 1000 block of Pennsy Road when a tree fell onto the road and struck the front driver’s-side door, police said. The truck then struck a mailbox and a tree.

Homicide charge

Ortiz drove his vehicle over Stitely after the two exchanged cash near Stitely’s Penn Township home July 4, an arrest affidavit shows. A person inside Ortiz’s vehicle told police she saw Stitely in front of the vehicle, and Ortiz “freaked out” and drove over him.

Ortiz was charged with homicide. No trial date has been set, district attorney spokesman Brett Hambright said.

Brandon Bleecher, 24, was the other person criminally charged as a result of a traffic accident in 2015, Wilson said. He struck 68-year-old pedestrian Charles Leayman Jan. 18 and pleaded guilty, receiving a sentence of five to 12 years.

Some other fatal wreck investigations are still pending, Wilson said.

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