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Investigators Unable to Link Ohio Highway Shootings

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Investigators trying to find out who is responsible for a string of highway shootings said Sunday they have found no link between the shootings and similar incidents elsewhere.

The first of the 11 vehicle shootings, on a five-mile stretch of the interstate that circles Columbus, took place in May, but most occurred in the last two months. Authorities did not connect the cases until a woman was killed Tuesday; she was the only person hit in the shootings.

The Franklin County sheriff's office has contacted law enforcement in other cities to compare the cases, but has found no matches, Chief Deputy Steve Martin said. He would not say what other shootings investigators have examined.

In a West Virginia county, three people were shot to death at convenience stores in August. About 50 miles north of Columbus, someone shot at two vehicles in October 2002 on Interstate 71 near an interchange.

Franklin County authorities have definitively linked only two of the 11 shootings along I-270, including the one that killed Gail Knisley, 62, of Washington Court House.

Increased patrols in the area will continue, Martin said.

Many living and traveling along the stretch said they don't intend to avoid the beltway. Often there's no better route.

Traffic hasn't dropped visibly since news of the shootings broke, said Edward Sparks, 53, who drives the stretch at least a dozen times a day making deliveries between two book manufacturer warehouses.

But he has noticed the extra squad cars, which makes him feel safer.

"You don't go through there now that you don't see one sitting in the middle, or driving by," Sparks said.

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