Family of pedestrian hit, killed on Dorchester Rd. asks for changes

A grieving family is pleading for change on Dorchester Road after their loved one was hit and killed while attempting to cross the street.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 10:27 PM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 11:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A grieving family is pleading for change on Dorchester Road after their loved one was hit and killed while attempting to cross the street.

They said if there were more options to get to the other side of the road, this tragedy may have been prevented.

RELATED: Lack of signage sparks concern over Dorchester Co. intersection

Jason Turner is described by his family as a man with a heart of gold. They said he had no enemies and loved everyone.

His family says he was crossing the street illegally to get a pack of cigarettes on May 16, when the unthinkable happened.

“He was my baby brother, and he died for a senseless reason,” Robert Turner, Jason’s brother, said.

Robert said he arrived on the scene within only one or two minutes of Jason being hit.

“I did talk to him while he was in the road. He said he was at peace and that made me feel better,” Robert said. “But I didn’t realize he was hurt as bad as he was.”

He said Jason died from his injuries later that night.

Investigators say Jason crossed from one side of Dorchester Road and made it to the concrete median in the middle of the street. That’s where he was hit.

“At this apartment complex and at that trailer park, normally they just cross the road and I just feel like there needs to be some safe way to cross the street without someone’s loved one getting hit,” Jason’s nephew Brandon Turner said.

It’s not only Jason’s family that’s asking for change. Mckinney Smith said he was also hit in the same area just over a month ago.

Smith is in a mobility scooter and said he has to cross the street in this specific area because there’s only a sidewalk on one side of the road, meaning if he goes down to the crosswalk, no sidewalk connects him to certain shops.

“I have no option but to cross here. It’s the safest, but it’s also the most dangerous,” Smith said.

Charleston Moves, a nonprofit that works to improve pedestrian accessibility across the Lowcountry, evaluated the roadway alongside the South Carolina Department of Transportation during the Road Safety Audit of Dorchester Road.

Officials with the nonprofit said their staff found several suggestions for improvement, including adding a continuous sidewalk on both sides, bicycle infrastructure, and more pedestrian crosswalks.

“The existing crosswalks are really far apart in that area, and so it’s a bit unreasonable to expect people to cross at those intersections in particular,” Executive Director of Charleson Moves Katie Zimmerman said. “We do need to add some crossings closer in. Especially when you look at what the roadway is surrounded by and connected to, which are a lot of apartments, a lot of homes, you’ve got several schools, a library, a senior center, restaurants.”

The North Charleston Police Department said they’ve investigated seven collisions in 2023 on Dorchester Road. Three were on private property with Dorchester Road addresses and four were roadway collisions. Officials with the police department said two of the four roadway collisions involved fatalities where the pedestrian was found contributing and the vehicle was not.

This section of Dorchester Road is maintained by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation provided the following statement:

SCDOT is in the process of conducting a road safety audit along this corridor between Kent Avenue and Park Gate Drive. Once that report is complete, we will review it with the stakeholders and determine any appropriate safety improvements.