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A spike in traffic deaths in the Detroit suburb of Detroit is causing a massive increase in ambulance calls to emergency rooms, according to a police report released on Monday.
More than 3,000 calls were made to emergency departments in the region in January from people who were struck by vehicles or left unattended, police said.
The spike in calls, which occurred during the height of a weekend with the annual May Day festival, has been called the worst recorded in the city’s history.
In total, more than 18,000 people in the metro area died in traffic accidents in the year to January, according a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
There were 9,800 traffic deaths and 6,000 injuries in January alone, according the report, which was based on data from the state’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
As the city continues to struggle with traffic congestion, the department has been bracing for the spike in call volume.
Chief of police Bob Scott said there are some challenges the department is facing, including the fact that the police are understaffed and that more officers are needed to respond to traffic incidents.
“We’re always working to reduce the number of officers we have on the street, but there are a lot of people who are responding to these calls,” Mr Scott said.
Police have warned residents not to drive in the area and to stay home.
On Monday night, a man was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired after a police pursuit, Mr Scott added.
Mr Scott said the city had been experiencing a “significant uptick” in traffic fatalities in the last few weeks.
A spokeswoman for the Detroit Metropolitan Police Department said officers were dispatched to the area to respond when they saw a vehicle heading west on Woodward Avenue on January 3 and following a red light.
They pursued the vehicle for nearly five minutes before the driver pulled over and surrendered.
Ms Scott said police received three calls related to the crash and were able to determine the driver was not impaired.
She said they have since identified a driver who is believed to be driving under the influence and had a blood alcohol level of 0.13.
‘I feel like it’s not worth it’ Ms Taylor said she was at a local hospital the morning after her daughter was killed.
”I feel so betrayed and I feel like there’s no value in the lives of our kids,” Ms Taylor said.
Ms Taylor had to cancel her visit with her daughter, who was born on January 13, to work on Monday because her employer, an ambulance company, did not have the capacity to take her daughter in.
Her daughter, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital at 3:30pm after her mother’s condition deteriorated.
This is not the first time the area has seen a spike in deaths in traffic.
In April 2017, a woman died after being struck by a vehicle while waiting for a red-light camera ticket.
She was travelling on Woodward Ave at about 1:40pm when a red lights camera camera pulled up in front of her car and she was hit by a truck.
It was later found that she was not drunk and there was no other witnesses.
Last month, a motorist was killed and another person was seriously injured in an accident on Woodward Rd. in the early hours of January 11.
Two people, both aged in their 20s, were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
At the time, a spokesperson for the police said they had launched a major investigation and there were still more calls to the department’s emergency dispatch centre.
While the increased traffic deaths are frustrating, Ms Taylor and her husband said they were relieved they were not among the victims.
“[We] are still grieving and just feel so sad about it,” she said.
“We were at home, and the whole neighbourhood was just buzzing with activity.”
And now we just feel like the only thing that matters is the little girls who were born yesterday, and we’re just so relieved that no one else was in that crash, but we are going to be there for her when she wakes up.