A crash on S.C. 22 Wednesday became the fifth deadly collision in the Grand Strand area within a week and raised to 32 the number of fatalities investigated by the S.C. Highway Patrol so far this year in Horry and Georgetown counties.
State troopers investigated 29 fatal collisions in the two counties combined between Jan. 1 and July 15 in 2011, and in the same time in 2010 deadly crashes totaled 23, according to Lance Cpl. Sonny Collins of the S.C. Highway Patrol.
Collins said its not uncommon to see a rash of fatalities in a short time.
On Wednesday a 60-year-old Charleston area man died when his pickup truck collided with a dump truck on S.C. 22.
Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick said the victim’s name would not be released before his family was notified. He also said no autopsy was planned.
Collins said the crash happened around 1:30 p.m. in the westbound lane of S.C. 22, near the U.S. 501 interchange, when a pickup truck pulling a trailer hit the back of a dump truck.
The dump truck was in the right lane headed west on S.C. 22 and traveling at a slow rate of speed due to mechanical issues when it was hit by the pickup truck, he said.
Both drivers were wearing seatbelts.
Two others died Tuesday in separate crashes. Both incidents remain under investigation.
Ronald Todd, 33, of Conway was killed Tuesday afternoon, said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge. His motorcycle ran off the right side of the roadway and hit a ditch on Highway 548, Collins said.
Around 6 p.m. Gregory Smith, 47, who lived on Ferguson Drive in Pawleys Island died at Waccamaw Community Hospital when his truck collided with a Williamsburg County Transit bus. Smith was leaving Club Isis, near Beaumont Road, when it was hit by the bus headed to Kingstree.
On Saturday night, a 57-year-old Myrtle Beach motorcyclist died on U.S.17 near Ocean Lakes Campground, in a crash that is still being investigated. Logan Trevino died just before 1 a.m. Sunday at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center after his bike collided with the passenger side of a 2011 Toyota van that was trying to cross U.S. 17. A second motorcyclist was airlifted to the Burn Center in Augusta, Ga. when his bike spilled into the roadway during the crash.
Last Thursday, Derek Fiore, 34, of Rutherford, N.J. crossed two grass medians on U.S. 17 in Surfside Beach south of Ocean Lakes Campground. Fiore collided with cars stopped for the traffic light at S.C. 544. Cynthia Ayala 18, of Surfside Beach, died in the six-vehicle crash.
Fiore remains hospitalized at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.
The wreck remains under investigation, and it’s still not clear if charges are possible.
The recent rash comes as the highway patrol is about halfway through the “100 deadly days of summer,” an enforcement and educational effort meant to keep motorists safe, said Collins, who said it “all goes back to the same causations, which will be speeding, DUI and failure to yield right-of-way.” He spoke generally, and didn’t indicate whether those causes were involved in the recent deaths.
“Even though we’ve gotten by July 4th we’re still in the peak of summer travel and will be until Labor Day, so drivers need to remember to keep your seatbelts fastened at all times because that is your best defense against a speeding driver, impaired driver,” he said.
“Failure to yield seems to be a common problem in the last month or so as well, so make sure your path is clear before you pull on the roadway and make sure you have enough time to safely get out there in the roadway,” Collins said.
Reporting dangerous drivers could help prevent some crashes, Collins said.
“If you see a reckless driver, an impaired driver call *HP to report any dangerous driving so we can try to intercept that driver,” he said. “We do get a lot of calls on that line and they’re extremely helpful. The public’s help is always appreciated.”
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.