Fatalities down on deadly I-26 stretch

CHARLESTON Only one person has died on a deadly stretch of Interstate 26 since state troopers began a crackdown on aggressive driving four months ago.

Numbers the S.C. Highway Patrol provided to The (Charleston) Post and Courier on Thursday did not include statistics from a seven-mile stretch of I-26 in Berkeley County, thereby omitting a fatal Sept. 26 crash that happened near the 189 mile marker.

A 21-year-old Mount Pleasant woman died after authorities say a car she was riding in left the side of the road and struck a tree during heavy rain.

The Highway Patrol started its crackdown in August in the wake of a Post and Courier Watchdog analysis that identified “death zones” between Exit 194 and Interstate-95 that had fatality rates three times higher than other stretches of I-26.

The analysis found that one of the largest clusters of fatal wrecks — 28 in all — occurred between exits 194 and 187 in Dorchester County over a 10-year period.

Lance Cpl. Bob Beres said crackdown statistics released Thursday only included the stretch of interstate that goes through all of Dorchester County. He said statistics are available for all 17 miles of I-26 in Berkeley County but not just the seven miles targeted by the increased enforcement.

Troopers said Thursday that the extra patrols will remain in effect indefinitely.