Pedestrian traffic deaths on the rise in South Carolina

Grand Strand

South Carolina has seen more pedestrian fatalities this year instead of usual.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, one out of every five traffic deaths so far this year has been a pedestrian. 

“Nighttime, that’s where we’re seeing most of these crashes with pedestrian,” Cpl. Sonny Collins said. “So we want to make sure you understand as a pedestrian you have to walk on the shoulder or on the sidewalk, you cannot walk in the roadway.”

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, pedestrian deaths in the state increased 60 percent between 2013 and 2017.

So far this year, 48 people died in crashes in the state. Ten of those 48 were pedestrians.

“There’s so many variables that play into this,” Collins said. “It’s just really all we can do at this point is educate the pedestrians as they’re walking up and down the road and also educating drivers on the dangers of being out there.”

Rachel King, 28, was hit and killed on the side of Peachtree Road in Socastee when she was walking late at night in August 2018. Her body was not found until six days later. 

Up and down Peachtree Road there is a very narrow shoulder and no pedestrian sidewalks.

Rachel’s mother, Terri Goodrich-Gay, said more needs to be done to prevent tragedies like what happened to her daughter from happening again.

Rachel’s body was found less than a couple miles away from where Vincent Padgett, 18, was also hit and killed in 2008.

“It just absolutely makes you nervous,” Goodrich-Gay said. “And it’s not just here on Peachtree Road, we have many roads in South Carolina that are like this.”

Goodrich said there is nothing she can do to bring her daughter back, but she still wants change. 

She told News13 she’d like to see more lights and also a walking pathway put up along the road.

“In memory of Rachel, I’d like it to be called Rachel’s Way,” she said about the path. 

No charges were filed in the death of Rachel King, who was a mother of four. A driver came forward shortly after the crash, which authorities ruled an accident. 

A spokesperson for SCDOT said in August that some roads like Peachtree have narrow shoulders and that nothing is in the works to update the road. 

According to the Department of Public Safety, 58 collisions were reported on Peachtree Road between 2007 and 2017. Two of those crashes were deadly and 22 left someone injured.

SCHP encourages pedestrians to wear bright and, if possible, reflective clothing.

A driver can see someone in reflective clothing from 500 feet away, compared to someone wearing red who can been seen 80 feet away or someone wearing white who can be seen from 180 feet, according to SCHP.

A vehicle moving at 60 mph will travel 260 feet before coming to a stop. 

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