Police are pleading with motorists after a fatal downtown crash yesterday morning, marking the third death in five days on city streets.

“It’s time to wake up. People die driving on the streets. We need to protect ourselves and the people around us,” said Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Barry Moran.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m., police discovered a BMW crashed into a tree on the west side of 107 Street near 102 Avenue. The driver and rear passenger were rushed to hospital, while the front passenger died on scene. All three men were in their 30s. Police believe alcohol and speed were factors and have charged the driver, a 33-year-old Kelowna man.

In 2008, there were nearly 30,000 collisions, resulting in 29 deaths. So far this year, 24 people have died in crashes. At this time last year, 12 people were dead as a result of collisions.

“For some reason, fatalities have gone through the roof,” Moran said, adding though there isn’t a clear contributing pattern, most caused by speed, alcohol or blatant driver error. “I don’t know if we can ever really prevent them.”

A man in his early 30s died around 2 a.m. Saturday after he blew through a red light on Gateway Boulevard travelling westbound on 34 Avenue. He was ejected into a light pole after his vehicle was hit by a northbound pickup truck.

A day earlier, a 66-year-old woman was killed after a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of 144 Avenue and 94 Street.

“It’s frustrating when we’re doing so well in other areas and we get all these fatalities — it’s the one area we’re having trouble.”

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