BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – This holiday weekend worsened an already deadly year on kern county roads. Bakersfield Police officers say the number of deadly crashes has almost doubled from last year. Just this last week – there were six deadly collisions in metropolitan Bakersfield that killed a total of 11 people.
“Our total number of fatals are up,” said Robert Rodriguez, a local CHP Officer. “Last year we had 67 and so we’ve already surpassed that and we still have a month to go in 2020.”
And the increase is even worse within the Bakersfield city limits. BPD says they’ve seen almost double the number of fatalities. In the greater Bakersfield area: 21 fatalities involved pedestrians, and 25 of the fatalities were a result of drinking and driving.
“There really isnt a reason for it,” Rodriguez said. “I can tell you that out of the two fatal crashes we investigated this weekend, two of the individuals did not have their seat belts on.”
This Thanksgiving weekend added to those fatalities. Not counted in the list of local accidents was a tragedy in San Bernardino. The Bakersfeild man was driving with four children when another driver ran a red light. The Bakersfield man and two children died in the crash. The two others are still in the hospital. The driver of the other car has been arrested for drunken driving and manslaughter.
“I know 2020 has just been one of those years,” Rodriguez said. “And I know people have a lot of stuff on their minds. Whether it be COVID, elections, or shutdowns, all this stuff. You still have to focus on driving.”
California Highway Patrol had a maximum enforcement period over Thanksgiving weekend to crack down on reckless drivers. In that period alone- local CHP officers arrested 24 people for driving under the influence.
“We really want to stress to people, don’t drink and drive, put on your seatbelts, and slow down on the roadways,” Rodriguez said.
Also during that time – Bakersfield Police and CHP investigated six deadly accidents. In those collisions- a total of 11 people were killed. One accident happened on Highway 65 near Meadows Field Airport. A minivan heading south drifted into the northbound lane and hit an SUV head-on. Both drivers died, along with one passenger in the SUV.
CHP will have another maximum enforcement period during Christmas time at the end of December.