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10-mile stretch of I-26 continues to be deadly - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

10-mile stretch of I-26 continues to be deadly

Authorities respond to a fatal accident on I-26 in April. (Source: M. Ledford) Authorities respond to a fatal accident on I-26 in April. (Source: M. Ledford)
Authorities investigate a deadly accident on Interstate 26 in February. Authorities investigate a deadly accident on Interstate 26 in February.
Crews work to clear a tractor-trailer accident that killed one person on I-26 in February. Crews work to clear a tractor-trailer accident that killed one person on I-26 in February.
RIDGEVILLE, SC (WCSC) -

A death trap. That is what some people call a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 26 near Ridgeville. Five people have died in car wrecks on that stretch so far this year.

A white cross and a pot of flowers are things you see when driving down the stretch of highway.

"On that stretch of roadway, there's very little room for error. If you run off the road and can't properly bring your vehicle back on there's nothing there to hit but a tree," says Lance Cpl. Bob Beres of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

In 2009 alone, on I-26 in Charleston and Berkeley counties, 400 people were injured in collisions and seven were killed. In 2010, 318 were injured and eight were killed. So far this year, five people have died on the stretch of highway.

"There's nothing wrong with the highway, it's the motorists who drive it. We have people that are speeding, cars cut in half when they hit trees, people driving the wrong way on the interstate, drunk drivers," Beres said.

The 10-mile zone is the deadliest stretch of I-26, but it's not the most heavily traveled. Over 35,000 cars cross over the area every day, which is only a third of the drivers who travel on I-26 in North Charleston. Beres says these deaths are avoidable.

"What would help is people slowing down, not drinking, not falling asleep," Beres said.

One theory behind the reason for so many wrecks in the area is people falling asleep. State troopers say to keep cool air blowing on your face, stop and rest every two hours. And if you find yourself falling asleep, check into a hotel.

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