The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Forces Behind Henderson County's Safe Roads

ISP Applauds County For Zero Fatalities in 2011

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher

What does it take to keep deaths to zero due to vehicle accidents?

Illinois State Police District #14 Commander Captain Robert L. Elliott said that it was only through combined efforts of a lot of people and agencies, that this could be achieved, and he wanted to congratulate those who have worked so diligently to make this happen.

The ISP announced that it has been a long time coming for Henderson County, but according to Illinois Department Of Transportation records, traffic fatalities in 2011 were kept to zero.

Usually, emergency responders at sometime during the year assist police officers in a fatal accident and officers are left with having to make the call to the coroner, and then the difficult visit to notify the family of the death of a loved one.

It's a job no one wants to have to do, and Illinois State Police strive daily to keep fatalities to zero.

At the Henderson County Courthouse Friday, the ISP cited a long list of workers and volunteers for this accomplishment and each were given a certificate of recognition signed by Captain Elliott and Henderson County Sheriff Steven Haynes.

Organizations from the Henderson County area that contributed to this historic milestone included, but were not limited to:

This feat is an excellent record for a county, especially during these times of distracted drivers who talk on cell phones and text message increasingly which is contributing to the problem.

The last time Henderson County went an entire year without a fatality was in 1997, fourteen years.

"IL State Police, with the recognition of Henderson County's historic milestone, encourages communities to recognize that saving lives on our roadways is a team effort that can be achieved, and challenges other communities to do the same," said ISP District 14 Safety Education Officer, Trooper Ed Howard.

According to ISP, "One Fatality is One too many.

The ISP is committed to "Driving Zero Fatalities to a Reality."

It's an excellent record for a county and Henderson County residents and those driving through, can feel good about the many in their midst who work to keep our roads safe and who quickly respond and give aid after an accident has been reported. Their time, training and dedication is many times, a life-saver.

Captain Elliott said, "I hope this year is a zero fatality year as well."

Representatives present were pleased of this milestone and appreciated the hard work of all involved to keep roads safe for their family members and friends.

West Central Principal John Bradburn said he was glad they chose to recognize the Drivers Education program at West Central.

"I think it starts there, the safety and getting our students to understand the importance of it.

"Our driver's education teacher, Mr. Troy Linden, does a nice job in showing statistics, and getting kids to think."

The program offers classroom and behind-the wheel training and he drives with a lot of students.

Bradburn said, " It was a nice feel today to come and stand along side the people who came to our Prom Night "crash scene" demonstration last Spring. All the people who are here today were represented there. They came and the chopper landed on the football field.

Bradburn said he feels what they did to show what's involved when there's a crash has an impact on the kids.

"Whatever we have to do to make sure they come back to us on Monday morning, we should do," he said. "Go out and have fun on Saturday night, but be safe, and make sure you come back to us safe on Monday morning.

Bradburn feels the Prom Night crash scene they put on every other year is an important step in reducing fatalities.

"I can't imagine the sorrow of the officers when they have to make that call."

Petey Parsons has served as an EMT 18 years for Gladstone and said her job was challenging but rewarding. She said EMTs train with firemen and the Jaw's of Life crews all the time, in order to be ready and quick with their responses.

"They know what we are thinking and we know what they are thinking, so we can all work together efficiently."