HOUSTON - For months, Channel 2 Investigates has been examining vehicle fatalities around the Houston area.
Sean Teare, chief of the Harris County District Attorney’s Vehicular Crime unit, calls it an “epidemic” describing the problem in four words: "worst in the country."
It’s been that way for 18 years in a row, according to Teare.
All over the Houston area, there are several crosses and roses on the side of roads that are symbolic of the lives lost.
But which areas are the deadliest?
Channel 2 Investigates spent months examining every crash report involving death in 2018. Each one is filled with diagrams and details.
There have been more than 260 in Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.
The deadly accidents have a variety of reasons including, texting, speeding, road rage, DUIs and failure to wear a seat belt.
The latter is close to the heart of Wendy and David Mills. They lost their 16-year-old daughter Kailee on Halloween 2017. At the time of the single-vehicle rollover crash, she was less than 30 seconds from the family's front door in Spring. Kailee was riding in the back seat of a vehicle and had unfastened her seat belt to snap a selfie moments before the accident. As her father David told Channel 2 Investigates, "She just let her guard down at the time."
Even if one avoids all of the risks involved when they are in their vehicle, there is another danger beyond your control, tailgating.
Quincy Whitaker, the Commander of the Harris County Vehicular Crimes Division, told Channel 2 Investigates it is the one problem they see but it is not mentioned as frequently as the normal causes for accidents including driving under the influence and distracted driving.
Teare said more deaths can be avoided throughout the Houston area if drivers simply become more aware of the true power in their hands.
"When they get behind the wheel and turn that key, they are strapping on a 5,000-pound deadly weapon," he said.
As examined the deadly crashes from 2018, here are some of the key hot spots we identified:
- Gulf Freeway near the 610-interchange
- 249, Veteran's and I-45 north of State Highway 249
- In and around I-45 going in and out of Conroe
- Spencer Road in the northwest part of Harris County
Channel 2 Investigates built an interactive map that provides details surrounding all the deadly crashes we examined. Click on the map below as well as an icon to examine the crashes and locations further:
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