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Franklin County sees jump in traffic-related fatalities in 2021

MALONE — After reporting only two traffic-related fatalities in both 2019 and 2020, the number of motor-vehicle crashes with fatalities in Franklin County jumped to nine in 2021.

According to preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, these nine crashes resulted in 10 fatalities.

In addition to the nine fatal crashes, Franklin County recorded 957 crashes that resulted in property damage and 127 which caused personal injury, for a total of 1,093 crashes in 2021, according to data from the Institute for Traffic Safety.

A total of 170 injuries were reported from the 127 crashes resulting in personal injury, according to statistics from the Institute for Traffic Safety.

The institute is an Albany-based not-for-profit, affiliated with SUNY Albany, dedicated to improving highway safety.

Comparatively, Clinton County reported five fatal crashes and six fatalities in 2021, St. Lawrence County reported 12 fatal crashes and 12 fatalities, while Essex County recorded two fatal crashes and two fatalities, according to the Institute for Traffic Safety’s data.

Notable crashes in Franklin County during 2021 included a February crash on County Route 8 in Malone, when Carolyn Lamondie, 65, of Constable, was killed after being struck by a vehicle operated by Trent Terrence 19, of Hogansburg.

Prior to the fatal collision State Troopers determined a minivan operated by Jason Lapage, 33, of Bangor, was traveling west on County Route 8 when it struck three unoccupied vehicles parked on the road’s north shoulder.

State Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said Lamondie was in the roadway looking at the damage to the three parked vehicles and that led to her being struck by Terrence’s vehicle.

Lapage was later arrested for DWI and his blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.14%, according to Fleishman.

A May collision on Route 11 in Burke occurred when a westbound vehicle operated by James Lacey, 33, of Chateaugay, attempted to pass an uninvolved vehicle and struck an eastbound vehicle head-on, killing the eastbound vehicle’s driver, Jeremy Booth, 39, of Clintonville, according to a press release from the state police.

In October, a single-vehicle crash on State Route 122 in Westville killed both of the vehicles occupants, when a car operated by Kejon Burks, 44, of Milton, Vt., ran off the roadway for an unknown reason and struck a tree, killing Burks and the vehicle’s passenger, Constance Cortez of Vermont, according to a state police press release.

In his weekly column, Did You Know, published on Monday, Dave Werner of the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board compared the population in Franklin County, with these three other North Country counties. Franklin County has a population of approximately 50,000, whereas Clinton County has a population of 80,500, St. Lawrence has a population of 107,500 and Essex County has a smaller population, with 37,500 residents, according to Werner’s column.

Werner said last year’s crash statistics were discussed at the traffic safety board’s meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 29.

Werner said the last time the county reported nine fatalities was 10 years ago and said the 10-year average in the county is four to five fatal crashes per year.

Werner said he attributed this year’s increase in traffic fatalities to several factors, including increased speeding from motorists.

“Speeding is a factor, if you look at the crash data, it doesn’t increase a whole lot, but the deaths do, hence speed is likely contributing,” Werner said.

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