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Motorists urged to ‘Drive to Survive’ — MHP will out in full force for holiday weekend

The Mississippi Highway Patrol will kick off the 2018 Memorial Day travel enforcement period with its annual safety awareness initiative,  “Drive to Survive.”

The enforcement period and initiative will begin Friday at 6 p.m. and conclude Monday at midnight.

“With distracted driving issues becoming more prevalent on Mississippi roadways, we urge drivers to have a ‘Drive to Survive’ mindset and make safe driving top priority,” said Capt. Johnny Poulos, director of MHP’s public affairs division. “All available troopers will be assigned saturation patrols in an effort to maximize visibility and reduce traffic crashes. Safety checkpoints will also be established to prevent impaired driving and promote seatbelt usage. “

In 2017, MHP investigated 122 crashes with two fatalities and made 110 DUI arrests on state and federal highway systems throughout the period.

Christopher Ryan Dingler, 30, was killed in a one-vehicle crash May 28 on Hwy. 84 in Lawrence County, said Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Dingler was traveling west on Hwy. 84 near the Pearl River when his 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck left the road and overturned several times. He was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

The other fatal crash over the weekend occurred on Hwy. 12 in Holmes County May 27.

During Memorial Day weekend of 2017, Troop M — which covers the counties of Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Wilkinson, Amite, Pike and Walthall — responded to two collisions, with only one injury, and issued 53 citations, including one seat belt violation and one child restraint violation.