Deadly crashes are on the rise in one area of Southwest Florida. So far this year, there have been 110 deaths from crashes in Lee County. That is according to Florida Highway Patrol.
Lee County has already surpassed its total of 107 fatal crashes from a year ago. The number for 2021 is going to climb too. FHP has not included the deadly crashes from December.
On Monday morning, one more person died in a crash.
For Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Greg Bueno, arriving at the scene of a fatal crash, like the one on Bonita Beach Road Monday morning, is never easy. “That’s someone’s son, someone’s daughter, someone’s family member.”
According to FHP, a 23-year-old woman drove through a roundabout before hitting several trees. She died at the scene.
Bueno says breaking that news to loved ones is never easy. “I can play many of those conversations back in my head like as if they were yesterday. And that’s something as human beings you take with you.”
FHP troopers have told many families that heartbreaking news this past year.
The latest total for 2021 shows 110 drivers died in crashes in Lee County.
“When someone leaves the house, to go to the store, to go to a restaurant, everyone in her family fully expects him to come home,” said Bueno.
Bueno says what makes these scenes so tragic is that they can be prevented. “People, as they drive, they get a little more risqué in their behavior. Oh, I’m just glancing at my phone it only takes a second. Well, it only takes a second for someone to stop abruptly in front of your vehicle. It only takes a second for a pedestrian to think you see them for them to walk out in front of you.”
2021 is the second year in a row that Lee County has experienced more than 100 fatal crashes.
Bueno hopes that trend stops in 2022. “After a tragedy happens, everybody has crocodile tears and they wish they could’ve gone back and done something different. Well, let’s be proactive, and let’s do something different before something bad happens.”
Bueno says the growing population, especially during the winter months, and more construction are factors in fatal crashes.
Collier County and Charlotte County saw far fewer deadly crashes.
Collier County has only reported 31 fatalities. In Charlotte County, there have been 28.