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Alcohol and drug-related fatal crashes on the rise in Branch County

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The number of fatal traffic accidents in Branch County doubled from 2011 to 2012 and there was a noticeable increase as well in cases of fatal drunk and drug related crashes. The state released its 2012 drunk driving audit today. Statewide, last year also showed a rise in drunk and drug-related driving arrests as well as in the number of fatalities and injuries. Some of the sobering statistics for Branch County: 8 people were killed last year in 6 separate crashes, two of which only involved alcohol taking two lives and 2 that only involved drugs killing 3 people. By comparison, in 2011, 4  people died in 3 crashes with just one involving alcohol and none with drugs involved. Injury crashes overall jumped from 208 in 2011 to 235 last year.