If you get the sense that you’re hearing about a lot more traffic deaths on South Carolina roads, you’re right, especially in one Upstate county.
Spartanburg County has seen traffic deaths more than double this year compared to the same time last year. The coroner is so concerned he’s asking the public for help.
In recent weeks we told you about a 34-year-old biker killed on Asheville Highway Sunday, an 18-year-old Dorman High student last week on I-26, and an 80-year-old victim one month before on the same highway.
When death comes on the road, it doesn’t discriminate, and it’s coming at an alarming rate in Spartanburg County.
No one knows that more than the Coroner, Rusty Clevenger who has seen road fatalities spike from 12 this time last year, to 25.
“The whole reasoning for trying to enlist the public’s help in this effort is to make sure they are able to travel from point A to point B and spend that time with their family and friends and not end up one of the statistic that I’ve seen grown this year,” said Clevenger.
The grief is something Anthony Talbert in Spartanburg feels every day after losing 5 friends to traffic deaths in the last 3 years.
“It ain’t no easy task, having to forward after that happens, it’s just day to day stuff after that. Like my buddy James Hylton they just got killed not too long ago on 85. Yeah, I worked with them in 94.”
Hylton and his son, both race car drivers were killed Saturday coming back from Talladega.
Statewide traffic fatalities are actually down by nearly 60 compared to this time last year (2018: 278, 2017:336). But Highway Patrol says 50% of them were not wearing their seatbelts.
Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee counties have seen a decrease over last year. Greenville is holding steady at 20.
Clevenger says no-matter where you drive, think of those top four killers before you get behind the wheel:
– And not wearing seat belts
Usually it’s a push we hear during what’s called “the 100 deadly days of summer.” But in a County that has had to deal with so much death already, the warning comes early this year.