by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - In a traffic crash near Fish Hawk Road in St. Helens, a driver was arrested on driving under the influence of intoxicants charges. According to Oregon State Police, preliminary statistics for the Memorial Day holiday weekend indicate an increase in traffic fatalities compared to last year’s total.

Last year, three people were killed in fatal auto crashes over the weekend. This year, six people died in five separate traffic crashes.

Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said the number of traffic collisions in a given weekend depends on what kinds of activities people are partaking in.

“More people drink and drive on holidays. We get a few of those,” he said.

Dickerson said the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office responded to three separate traffic crashes over the holiday weekend.

On Saturday, May 25, near Fish Hawk Road in St. Helens, a crash occurred and the driver was arrested for DUII. Monday, May 27, the Columbia County Sheriff’s office responded to a hit and run as well as a motorcycle crash near Vernonia that resulted in a head injury.

A total of 64 people have died in Oregon Traffic crashes during the Memorial Day weekend period since 2000.

The highest number was reported in 1979 when 13 people were killed.

Since 1970, an average of six traffic fatalities have been reported each Memorial Day holiday period in Oregon.

OSP reminds drivers that state, county and local police agencies are continuing increased enforcement as part of the “Click it or Ticket” mobilization through June 2.

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