LISBON - Yet another person has died from a car crash in Columbiana County this year, and at least one common denominator is no seat belt.
The Highway Patrol said Friday Joseph A. Hicks, 48, of Hanoverton, has died from injuries he sustained in a Jan. 22 vehicle accident in Hanover Township.
The patrol was notified of his death by the Summit County Coroner's Office at 11:15 p.m. Thursday, according to a press release.
Hicks was taken to the Aultman Hospital in Canton following the crash on U.S. 30 in which he went left of center into the path of a 2013 Freightliner shortly before 7 p.m.
A patrol dispatcher had said on Jan. 23 he was still in the hospital undergoing surgery.
Hicks was driving a 2000 Chrysler 300 on U.S. 30 near milepost 7 when he collided with the Freightliner being driven by Oscar G. Vera, 34, of El Paso, Texas. Vera and his passenger, Jesus Roias Jr., 33, also of El Paso, were not in need of medical treatment.
On Friday the patrol said Hicks was not wearing a seat belt and alcohol is suspected.
Included in the press release was a statement from the patrol that the county has experienced five fatal crashes resulting in seven deaths during the month of January where seat belts were not used.
"The Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding all motorists to practice safe driving. The message is clear, speed kills, seat belts save lives, don't drink and drive, and a distracted driver is a dangerous driver," it said.
Another common denominator, Lt. Joe Dragovich has said, are marked lanes violations.
The post is currently working with the county municipal court system to curb fatal crashes by increasing fines for those cited for seat belt or marked lanes violations.
On Feb. 1 the court began charging $50 to those cited for seat belt or lanes violations - up from the $30 charged over the last several years.
Dragovich said nearly all of the most recent fatalities in the county have happened to people who were not wearing seat belts.
Of the crashes so far this year, one involved a motorcycle, where a seat belt was not an option.