Traffic deaths on the rise, 2 in past week - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Traffic deaths on the rise, 2 in past week

Traffic deaths on the rise, 2 in past week

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 Posted By: Camila Orti

Statistics show Nebraska traffic fatalities are steadily increasing.

AAA says the rate is "alarming," reporting that the 106 deaths on Nebraska roads so far this year is more than 20 percent higher than the last four year average for these first six months.

Late Wednesday night, 16-year-old Blake Burklund was killed after running a red light at the intersection of 84th and Cornhusker Highway, crashing through the tree line. He was pronounced dead at the scene, sending friends and family into a state of shock.

"It's been kind of a tough day for the whole Southwest soccer family," Coach Geoff Weller said, "Blake was a very hard working kid, he was well respected by his teammates."

Burklund played soccer at Lincoln Southwest, where he would've been a junior this fall.

Just a day prior, another teen lost his life on city streets. 19-year-old Mark Wenzl was riding his motorcycle on the Rosa Parks overpass when he hit the barrier and was ejected to the parking lot below. Police say he was killed instantly.

"I'd seen him two days prior and he was at my house and before he left he gave me a big hug like he always did," friend Taylor Cvitak said, "just didn't think anything like this could happen."

For friends of Blake and Mark, they are two people who had so much promise and were taken far too soon.

"Hopefully we can ban together and support everybody that needs it," Weller said.

Police are still investigating to determine what caused Burklund's crash. An autopsy is scheduled.

Counselors were available at Southwest Thursday afternoon for grieving students.

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