GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – Five pedestrians and a cyclist are dead after getting hit by cars, all in a five-mile radius in Greenville in a matter of two weeks.
The deaths of these six Upstate people are sparking a call to action from local activists who want to see safer driving and more pedestrian access. It’s being heard by local representatives, but at a tremendous cost.
“It’s alarming when you see the numbers and you know that it’s in a five-mile radius,” said Traci Fant with Upstate Freedom Fighters.
For the last month, she’s made it her mission to end pedestrian deaths in Greenville County. All the while, she’s watched them tick upward.
Monday, the coroner released the name of a man hit while trying to cross Whitehorse Road on Friday night. Derek Lamar Jackson was 39.
Fant was at the scene.
“To see a young man laying in the road…the person that hit him…they just kept going,” Fant said.
Police say half these deaths are hit and run crashes. Fant says distracted driving and speed are factors and there’s no closure for the families.
“To them, it makes them feel like there is no value in their family member’s life,” said Fant.
She said other issues are lack of lighting and safe cross walks. Fant and Greenville County Councilman Lynn Ballard are looking for solutions.
“It’s just uncanny that these continue to occur,” Ballard said.
Ballard joined Fant in a ride along last Thursday night to scope out the problem areas.
“I went home, I documented what we did and I sent a copy of my documentation to the deputy county administrator for public works,” said Ballard.
He also reached out to the S.C. Department of Transportation, Senator Karl Allen and several state legislators.
“There’s a problem. We just have to determine if there’s a way to solve the problem,” Ballard said.
Moving forward, both Ballard and Fant agree that as Greenville grows, the infrastructure to support its citizens must grow with it. He said this is especially true in lower income communities where foot traffic is often more common.
“Transportation is an issue in that area and more so since more and more people are moving in to that area that used to live in downtown Greenville,” said Ballard.
Several hit-and-runs remain unsolved.
If you know anything about these cases, you are urged to call the Greenville Police Department at 864-271-5333, or the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office at 864-271-5210, or the S.C. Highway Patrol at 864-241-1000.