How Memphis Police are tackling an increase in fatal crashes


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fatal accidents are steadily going up in Memphis, and we have the the numbers. The question now: what’s the plan to tackle this deadly issue?

The latest accident just last week on Walnut Grove Road took the lives of two people. WREG asked Memphis Police for the number of fatal vehicle accidents, and what we got back is telling.

In 2019, there were 95 deadly crashes in the city. Last year, that number skyrocketed to 164. So far this year, there have been at least 92 fatal wrecks.

“It’s alarming. I wouldn’t say it’s surprising. It is alarming,” says Colonel Keith Watson with the Memphis Police Department.

Police say last year Memphis and Shelby County led the state in fatal crashes, but they say things have gotten better this year, despite 12 people being killed in vehicle crashes in Memphis just last week. Some impacts were so hard cars are actually torn apart.

We asked what the department is doing to get the numbers down.

“We have officers out on special detail. We have teams of officers that address the complaints that come in,” said Colonel Watson with MPD. “We have made numerous arrests. We have written nearly 4,000 citations. We have arrested over 230 people for excessive speed incidents out on the roadway.”

As we enter the busy holiday weekend, when more people will be hitting the road, police say they will have plenty of eyes on the road.

“We all want to make it home safe,” Watson said. So slow down Memphis.”

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