MILWAUKEE COUNTY — Authorities believe reckless driving is to blame in three deadly crashes Sunday night in the Milwaukee area.
Police said a driver struck and killed a man who was crossing the street at Fond du Lac and Silver Spring around 6:00 p.m. Milwaukee police said the driver ditched his car and took off.
A similar incident unfolded in West Allis leaving a pedestrian dead and police searching for the driver of an SUV.
Milwaukee police responded to another crash after a driver smashed into a tree on the city’s north side. Police said the passenger died and the driver was arrested for being under the influence.
"All of these accidents could have been prevented,” said Alderman Michael Murphy.
Murphy is frustrated reckless driving continues to take lives.
“To change people's behavior is not an insignificant task,” he said.
Murphy is the chairman of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County’s joint reckless driving task force. He said statistics show the problem has only gotten worse over the past year, even though there are fewer drivers on the road amid the pandemic.
As of Jan. 25, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office has investigated eight motor vehicle fatalities compared to just two in the same amount of days last year.
The medical examiner’s office said there were 27 more car fatalities in 2020 than in 2019.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee police issued about 3,000 more reckless driving and speeding citations in 2020 than the previous year.
Murphy said changes are coming. Some are visible and others are out of sight.
"We're changing literally the streets themselves by narrowing them and making them more difficult for people to speed upon,” Murphy said.
Murphy said Milwaukee police are putting 30 more officers on the streets to focus on traffic violations. Murphy’s task force is also about to launch an educational campaign to teach young adults about the consequences of reckless driving.