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Rash of Motor Vehicle Accidents Strains Resources

Fargo, ND, is not known for a high rate of motor vehicle accidents. The last three weeks, however, have turned deadly. During this time period, seven motor vehicle accidents have resulted in five fatalities, the only such motor vehicle fatalities in Fargo in almost two years. The frequency and severity of the accidents has strained the resources of the Fargo police's traffic unit, slowing the investigations. All seven accidents have required accident reconstruction expertise, severely taxing the department's officers trained in this specialty.


The accident parade began on September 29, 2010, when a driver was injured in a one-vehicle crash. Police reported that alcohol intoxication was suspected. The next day a Fargo, couple was killed when their motorcycle struck a bus as it was turning into a driveway. Another motorcycle accident followed on Friday, October 1, when a motorcyclist sustained serious injuries after his motorcycle was struck by a pick-up truck.

A relative period of tranquility followed for a week. On Friday, October 8, the deadly parade started again. A 51-year-old man was struck and killed by a car as he crossed the street. The following Friday, October 15, a 21-year-old drove his vehicle into a building. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless endangerment, and leaving the scene of an accident.

The next day, October 16, a 17-year-old high school junior was killed when the car he was riding in struck a tree. The driver and other two passengers of the car may face criminal charges. The final fatality occurred on October 17, when a car crossed a traffic median and struck the pillar of a highway underpass. The 23-year-old driver was killed. Police believe that this may have been the result of a drag racing competition.


Although the largest city in North Dakota, Fargo has had relatively few fatal motor vehicle accidents in recent years. No fatalities were recorded in 2009, and only one in 2008. For the ten-year period prior to 2010, an average of 1.7 traffic deaths per year were reported. Nevertheless, Fargo police intend to step up traffic law enforcement in the wake of the recent rash of accidents. Police spokesmen indicated that monitoring of busy corridors during rush hour will be increased. Law enforcement officials will also be working with other agencies to stress safe driving in the high schools, and to curb drunken driving.


The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead