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More tickets, fewer fatalities noted over Thanksgiving period

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 27, 2001
The Mississippi Highway Patrol in Meridian's Troop H area wrote 38 percent more traffic citations during the Thanksgiving holiday driving period, but the number of incidents in several hazardous categories actually declined.
Troopers noted that fatalities, accidents, alcohol-related accidents, felony arrests, child restraint violations and seatbelt citations were down this year. But, other violations showed an increase, including speeding, no tag or expired driver's license.
Spokesman Sgt. Ronnie Carter attributed the rise in traffic violations, to 1,202 from 738, to an increase in the number of cars on the road and to more troopers working over the holiday weekend.
This year, troopers wrote 1,029 hazardous violations and 173 non-hazardous violations. Troopers made 14 DUI arrests in 2000, compared with eight DUI arrests during the 2001 holiday.
Troopers investigated 273 accidents in 2000, 13 of which were alcohol-related. In 2001, the number of accidents dropped to 209, with seven being alcohol-related.
Last year, there were three fatalities in the Troop H area and seven fatalities statewide. This year, there was one death on state roads in the Troop H area and five statewide.
Carter said 36-year-old Paul Bolton of Taylorsville was killed Friday when the 1994 Mazda he was driving left the road and went into a wooded area. Bolton, who was wearing his seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident, which occurred shortly after 11 a.m., happened about a mile south of Meridian in the northbound lane of Interstate 59, near the I 20/59 split, Carter said.
Troopers Roy Benamon and Mike Cain are still investigating the cause of the accident, Carter said.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at