Charleston Police urge safety after increase in deadly pedestrian accidents

Charleston Police say they have seen a 300% increase in pedestrian deaths.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:53 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston Police say they have seen a 300% increase in pedestrian deaths, which may sound like a lot, but it is really the difference of just three people city-wide. However, the department says this number is too high.

“You got to deal with getting through all these folks driving around and it ain’t easy sometimes, Vernon Baldwin, who was the victim of a pedestrian vs. auto accident earlier this year, said.

Baldwin says this accident broke his hip and he had to get surgery.

He is not the only victim.

“My buddy was going to work, you know, “Baldwin said. “...He had to cross the Northbridge on the bicycle, and I don’t know what happened... He just got hit, you know... And I’m missing my friend because of that.

Suzanne Stinson of West Ashley says she has seen these kinds of accidents.

“There was one that was on Bees Ferry Road, which was very tragic and heartrending,” Stinson said. “And I don’t want anyone’s family to ever have to go through that, losing someone that way.”

The Charleston Police Department says there have been just under ten cyclists injured in accidents city-wide this year. As far as pedestrians, four have died in comparison to one at this point last year.

“People are distracted by looking at their phone,” Lt. Sean Engles with the department’s traffic unit said. “Not that we’re pinpointing that to any specific accident, but it is a concern for us.”

There needs to be, according to Stinson, more signage and greenways to improve safety.

“And especially a fatality, that they need to look at that road and look at the circumstances that led to that and figure out if there’s some kind of mitigating action they can take so it doesn’t happen again,” Stinson said.

Engles thinks everyone needs to pay more attention.

“To see and be seen,” Engles said. “So, that’s just a simple thing we’re asking people to do, drivers and pedestrians. Just keep your heads up for your safety.”

He knows of proposed city improvement programs that could make some bike and pedestrian-only areas. However, nothing is official at this time. For now, he says awareness is what is most important.