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OSHP awards Waterford resident for buckling up

Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Jared Miller presents his father, Kennard M. Miller Jr., with the Saved by the Belt award Friday. The elder Miller was in a traffic accident in December on Ohio 7 in Monroe County. He was wearing his seat belt, which saved him from sustaining life-threatening injuries.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A Waterford, Ohio, resident is grateful for his seat belt, which apparently saved his life when he was involved in a traffic accident late last year.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol honored Kennard M. Miller Jr. who has now joined the Saved by the Belt Club. The ceremony was a family affair as Trooper Jared Miller, of the OSHP Marietta Post, proudly presented the Saved by the Belt award to his father Friday afternoon at the St. Clairsville Post.

On Dec. 14, Miller was traveling northbound on Ohio 7 in Monroe County when he was struck by another vehicle. Lt. Maurice Waddell, commander of the St. Clairsville Post, said a pick-up truck traveling southbound failed to yield at the right away and struck Miller’s vehicle on the driver’s side door.

Miller said he was on his way to work when the truck went to make the turn across the road toward the New Martinsville bridge and struck him on his driver’s side. He said he had little time to react.

As a result, Miller sustained lacerations to his head and a broken femur. Although he did sustain injuries in the accident, Waddelll said those injuries could have been more severe if he had not been wearing a seat belt.

“Those injuries were minimized by the usage of the safety belt. So today, we’re here to present him with the Saved by the Belt award to recognize him. He’s a real life testament as to the effectiveness of wearing a safety belt and it does help you if you’re involved in a crash,” he said.

Miller said he feels lucky to be here and will continue to adorn his seat belt each and every time he is behind the wheel.

“I’ve been in the fire department now for almost 15 years, so I’ve seen my share of bad accidents,” he said. “I feel really lucky.”

Trooper Miller said he was shocked when he first learned about his father’s accident. He said he is grateful to the St. Clairsville Post who provided him and his family with updates about his father’s condition after the crash.

In addition to the award, Miller was also given a Saved by the Belt license plate bracket.

According to the OSHP, 487 people in Ohio were killed in traffic crashes where a safety belt was available but not in use in 2020. Waddell said he urges drivers to always buckle up every time they enter a vehicle.

The Saved by the Belt award is designed to recognize people who have benefited from wearing a safety belt. It is a joint effort between the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the more than 400 law enforcement agencies in Ohio.

Waddell said the month of April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the patrol is not only reminding residents to buckle up, but also to keep their eyes and focus on the roadway when behind the wheel.

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