The South Carolina Department of Public Safety held a memorial service to pay tribute to the traffic fatality victims of 2016 at a memorial service in Columbia on Saturday.
The number of statewide victims totaled to more than a thousand last year, with about 69 of those killed in Horry County, according SCDPS online data.
The service, held at the Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, drew hundreds of family members and friends of those killed last year from across the state and beyond, according to a news release from the SCDPS.
Several spoke at the service, including Assistant Pastor Randall “Mack” Jackson of Bible Way Church, who delivered a “Message of Hope” to the crowds, the release said. SCDPS Director Leroy Smith and State Transport Police Colonel Leroy Taylor, who is also an elder at Bible Way, spread comfort and condolences to attendees as well.
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Each year since 1988, a memorial service has been held to remember those who have been killed on the Palmetto State’s roads to comfort the victims’ families and friends, as well as educate the public in an effort to prevent others from losing their lives, the release says.
“For the last 30 years, this ceremony has offered an opportunity for families and friends to come together and remember the lives of those tragically lost on our highways,” SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said in the release. “SCDPS and its safety partners continue to focus on our mission of Target Zero in hopes that no other family will have to experience the pain of losing a loved one due to a traffic collision.”
So far in 2017, 275 people have died in traffic crashes, compared with 283 from the same time period last year, according to SCDPS online preliminary data. There have been 12 traffic fatalities in Horry County this so far this year, SCDPS data released April 17 showed.