Five Lives Lost in Head-On Collision in Laurens County, South Carolina

Five lives were lost on South Carolina Interstate 385 on Sunday morning according to WYFF News 4.  The report indicates that a 2014 Kia was driving the wrong direction on I-385 in Laurens County, South Carolina when they struck a 2020 Hyundai head on.  According to the news, all five persons involved in the collision were killed.  This continues a disturbing trend of highway fatalities on South Carolina highways in recent weeks.  According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety website, 885 persons have been killed in South Carolina this year so far.  This tracks closely to our annual average of approximately 1,000 lives lost on South Carolina roadways every year.

I would encourage everyone to visit the South Carolina Department of Public Safety website and Fatality Dashboard.  The department tracks fatalities across South Carolina and categorizes the fatal motor vehicle collisions into numerous categories.  The website is user-friendly and can provide an idea of the nature of each fatal collision.  The goal in South Carolina is to bring the number of fatalities to zero; however, as recent events have shown, we are a long way off from achieving that worthy goal.

As you would imagine, traveling on the wrong side of the interstate is a major traffic violation and is incredibly dangerous.  Interstate Highways are known as “controlled access highways.”  South Carolina state law defines controlled access highway as follows: “Every highway, street or roadway to which owners or occupants of abutting lands and other persons have no legal right of access to or from except at such points only and in such manner as may be determined by the public authority having jurisdiction over such highway, street or roadway is a “controlled-access highway.” S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-613.

Interstate or controlled access highways have additional rules and laws that may apply when operating your motor vehicle on said highways.  For example, some vehicles, such as a mopeds, are not allowed on controlled access highways or interstates.  Also, you are only allowed to stop on controlled access highways under an emergency and not for convenience or any other non-emergency reason.

In this case, based solely on the news reports, it appears as though the vehicle driving in the wrong direction violated South Carolina Code section 56-5-1810(c) which states: “Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway…” S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-1810.  Additionally, driving the wrong way on an interstate is a highly dangerous and reckless activity.  Given the facts and timing of the accident, any thorough investigation into the crash should determine whether the driver of the at-fault vehicle was under the influence of alcohol, as well as investigating whether or not appropriate signage was in place to warn the driver that they were driving in the wrong direction on the wrong side of a divided highway.  Cell phone records, as well as the use of an experienced accident reconstructionist, may be needed to understand the facts and circumstances that led to this crash and tragic loss of life.

All of us at Thomason and Pracht, LLP wish to extend our sincere thoughts and prayers for everyone involved in this tragedy.  Please know that all facts and reports are based on second-hand reports from news agencies covering the crash and are not guaranteed or represented as 100% accurate.  No reliance on this article should be made to formulate an opinion of determination as to what happened or who was ultimately responsible for this incident.  The contents or this article are not evidence and not legal advice.  If you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash and need legal advice from an attorney at Thomson and Pracht, you can call our office or reach out to us on our website, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 


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