Sheriff outraged over highway deaths
Thu, 12 Jan 2012 23:31:31 GMT —
Lexington, S.C. (WACH) - Law enforcement and community leaders facing an ugly truth; in 2011, Lexington County roads and highways were the 2nd deadliest in South Carolina.
"I'm embarrassed; I don't like to be number two, at the bottom," said Lexington County Sheriff James Metts. "I want to be number two at the top."
DUI and drivers not wearing seat belts are the major factors according to the data.
52 people died on county roads last year. Lexington County also saw a 33% jump in 2011 fatalities, the largest increase statewide from 2010 to 2011.
The first two weeks of 2012 have also been deadly on Lexington County roads with several crashes, including one that took place at the intersection of Highway 378 and Old Cherokee Road.
David Longstreet and his family were heading to Northside Baptist Church for services on New Yearâ??s Day, when deputies say they were hit by a drunk driver at the intersection.
Longstreet survived with some injuries, his six year old daughter, Emma, did not survive.
"I wanted to come and support everyone to say enough is enough, and we really don't want this to happen to anyone else," said Longstreet. "Poor Emma should have never suffered like this."
Longstreet says Emmaâ??s short life was filled with joy. His daughter liked climbing trees and dressing up, he remembers her last day alive.
"We were in the front yard, picking up acorns, having piggy back rides, and wrestling around, doing the things that families do, and the next day, to find ourselves in such a tragedy."
Lexington County Sheriff James Metts promising to press lawmakers for more troopers and even tougher DUI laws, so there won't be anymore families ruined by drunk drivers.
"Pass stronger laws on DUI, pass laws so that we can go in court and present evidence and win."
The South Carolina Highway Patrol recently got a grant from the Lexington Richland Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council, that will pay officers overtime for DUI enforcement. The funding lasts through June.