When it comes to traffic deaths, Greenville and Spartanburg counties have a dubious distinction: First and second in the state for the highest numbers.
Earlier this year, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger warned of a spike in traffic fatalities in the county.
He’s sad to see the rate hasn’t slowed down.
Spartanburg County may have 150,000 fewer people than Greenville, but it’s not far behind in traffic deaths, with 68 so far this year up from 47 last year.
Stan Patrick was the victim of one of those accidents four weeks ago on Highway 101 near Berry Shoals Road. Daniel McCall is charged with felony DUI with death in the crash.
Patrick’s step daughter Jennie Corley in Waterloo spoke to us over Facetime of the loss.
‘It has devastated our family. It’s a whole new dynamic, we have to learn how to learn how to live without him and it’s very very painful,” Corley said.
Coroner Clevenger said the spike stems from more accidents not crashes with multiple victims.
“I’ve been concerned most of this year, and just trying to get the information out and I believe Spartanburg will listen, but I will tell you that a number of these fatalities are secondary roads,” said Clevenger.
He pinpointed some of the trouble spots:
– Asheville Highway
– Highway 221, north of Interstate 85
– Highway 290 in the Duncan area
Clevenger says a county task force is looking to make problem areas safer.
But the biggest problem is drivers who are texting, tired or drinking.
“That’s an epidemic, and I think a lot of people really need to stop and think about how your actions can affect others,” Corley said.
Clevenger urgers drivers, especially during the holidays with festivities involving alcohol, to use services like Uber and Lyft, and above all, be patient.
“This season I know you want to give presents but the greatest gift may be your own presence,” Clevenger said.
And whether you’re driving or taking a lift, remember to wear your seatbelt.
Federal statistics show more than half of the people who died in crashes were not wearing seatbelts.