Cobb County

Police departments across metro Atlanta seeing uptick in major crashes this year

MARIETTA, Ga. — Police departments say car crashes are on the rise across the metro Atlanta area. It’s a problem that is also happening statewide and nationwide.

Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell spoke with Marietta police department about what’s causing the spike in crashes.

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At Marietta Wrecker Service, there are hundreds of damaged cars and they continue to pile up.

“I’m looking at vehicles that changed peoples’ lives,” Marietta police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy said. “When you look at the catastrophic damage to the van or to some of these other vehicles, those changes peoples lives forever.”

Within 48 hours this week, Marietta police responded to two serious car crashes, one of which involved children.

“Our major crashes where it involves serious injury or even death are up drastically,” McPhilamy said.

Those crashes are up 36% this year. More than half of the increase is related to DUI crashes.

“People are choosing to drive intoxicated more than they did the year before and more than the year before that,” McPhilamy said.

Distracted driving and speed are other causes. Marietta police are cracking down and also studying the crash trends.


It’s not just a problem in Marietta.

Channel 2 Action News recently reported in deadly crashes in Cherokee County that killed a volleyball player and her father on Thanksgiving Day. Over the weekend, Emerson mayor and his wife were killed by a suspected drunk driver on the same road.

In Smyrna, police say the crash problem “seems to be growing exponentially.”

Earlier this year, Smyrna police gave Newell an exclusive look at the problem and how they are trying to fix it. Police shared photos of car crashes they have responded to.

In one of them, a driver ignored the move over law and crashed into a police cruiser. The officer was just feet away.

“It was frightening. It wasn’t a feeling that I’ve had before in this line of work.”

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