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KHP: Holiday weekend travel results in two fatal accidents

By ABBY BELDEN

abelden@dailynews.net

During the Thanksgiving holiday, Kansas Highway Patrol troopers were on the scene of two fatal crashes.

One of those crashes involved alcohol, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol Thanksgiving weekend holiday activity report, which was released Monday.

There were no fatal crashes in 2011.

The report, which is based on a reporting period that began 6 p.m. Nov. 21, and concluded at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

KHP Technical Trooper Tod Hileman said Troop D, which is made up of Ellis County and 17 other counties in northwest Kansas, has not had a fatal crash in the past three years during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The number of fatal crashes was not the only increase from 2011.

Hileman said there were five driving under the influence related crashes across the state of Kansas this year, while last year had three.

The 2012 Thanksgiving holiday report showed specific citations and warnings increased, compared to previous years.

"We were down last year, but from 2010 and this year, we're pretty close," he said. "This year, we're up a little bit (more) than normal, I would say, as far as speed arrests and citations and all of those things."

The number of speeding citations and warnings issued in Troop D counties increased from 2011.

This holiday season, troopers issued 320 speeding citations and 275 warnings, compared to 199 citations and 136 warning issued in 2011.

Statewide, according to the report, there were 1,568 speed citations and 1,352 warnings issued this year, compared to 1,400 citations and 1,245 warnings issued in 2011.

Hileman said the troopers were asked to work additional hours from Nov. 19 to 25.

"Our normal shift is eight hours, but we are asked to extend our shift so we are out on the road longer," he said.

During the weekend, KHP and local agencies participated in the Special Traffic Enforcement Program.

STEP is possible through a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation to provide additional enforcement during the times traveling is heavy.

"The traveling week, the traffic just starts increasing," Hileman said. "Colleges get out and it just starts steadily picking up throughout the week. ... The two days before Thanksgiving are the heavy travel days and the Sunday afterwards."