Family of victims in deadly crash, passengers in vehicle that hit them sue county

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 4:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) – Over a year and a half after a fatal Berkeley County crash that killed a family of three, representatives of the Freeman family and the three passengers in the car that hit them are suing the county.

Chad Freeman, 49, Andrea Freeman, 48, and Meredith Freeman, 74, were all killed on Oct. 11, 2020, at the intersection of Brighton Park Boulevard and Nexton Parkway in unincorporated Berkeley County.

Joshua Wensell, 18 at the time, was driving a Jeep Wrangler down the parkway when it collided with the Freeman family.

Wensell was charged with three counts of reckless homicide following the crash. His charges are still pending.

Arnold Freeman and Robin Feiser, representatives of the Freeman family’s estate, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county on May 31, alleging an overgrowth of vegetation on the parkway interfered with roadway safety, traffic visibility and vision impairments. They also say the county failed to install a traffic light or roundabout at the intersection.

South Carolina Highway Patrol confirms there were three passengers in Wensell’s car at the time: Makenzie Reece, Izaak Trussel and Cierra McClellan.

Reece’s, Trussel’s and McClellan’s lawsuits filed June 10 in Berkeley County look similar to that of the Freeman family representatives’; however, they are using different attorneys.

The three passengers similarly allege the county’s negligence in failing to install traffic lights or a roundabout, in addition to failing to maintain the vegetation, which impaired vision coming around the corner.

It wasn’t until this past March that the county, in collaboration with the Nexton community, installed a temporary stoplight at the deadly intersection. Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb says due to supply chain issues, they are still waiting on parts to install a permanent stoplight.

The most recent data requested from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety shows one fatal collision in the past four years at the intersection of Brighton Park Boulevard and Nexton Parkway. That data also shows 25 collisions in total and 12 injuries in that same period of time.

The suit says the county had the ability to correct the alleged issues with the intersection but did not.

Berkeley County officials say they cannot comment on pending litigation.

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