South Carolina Highway Patrol investigators continue searching for a hit-and-run driver who killed a pedestrian in rural Lexington County shortly before dawn on June 19, 2017. The deadly collision west of the town of Chapin happened near the intersection of Westwoods Drive and St. Peters Church Road at around 5 am.
Multiple news outlets identified the deceased pedestrian as 22-year-old Darrius Dreher. He died from his injuries before police and emergency medical personnel arrived.
Troopers believe the driver who fled the scene was behind the wheel of a full-sized pickup truck or large SUV. The vehicle likely sustained damage to one of its headlights, but little else is known. Anyone with information about the at-fault driver’s identity or the location of the vehicle is being asked to call 1-888-Crime-SC (888-274-6372), to text TIPSC and the relevant information to CRIMES (274637) or to go to http://www.midlandscrimestoppers.com to send an email.
The pedestrian most likely did not have clear right of way when he attempted to cross the two lanes of Westwoods Drive. However, the driver had his or her own duty to keep a lookout for pedestrians and to stop if a crash did occur. Section 56-5-1210(A) of the South Carolina Code of Laws makes it clear that “the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of a person [must] immediately shall stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible.” Failing to do so, and failing to render first aid when able, makes the drive subject to a felony conviction.
Causing a hit-and-run collision also makes a driver responsible for settling personal injury and wrongful death insurance claims filed by victims. The family of the young man who lost his life on Westwoods Drive in Lexington County may need to invoke the uninsured motorist provision of his own automobile insurance policy to make that happen, however.
Each licensed driver in South Carolina is required to carry uninsured motorist coverage as part of their own policy. State statutes emphasize that “motor vehicle is considered uninsured if the owner or operator is unknown” and go on to explain that claims filed under uninsured motorist provisions will paid just as if they were filed against the at-fault driver’s policy directly.
Hiring an experienced and caring Carolina wrongful death attorney will help the family members navigate the uninsured motorist claims process. Insurance company representatives treat such claims as if they came from a person they do not cover, meaning a full investigation will take place and the family may feel pressured to accept a quick and inadequate settlement. The family also does not need to be worried that their insurance premiums will be affected by making a claim under an uninsured motorist provision. Since the crash occurred due to someone else's negligence or recklessness, the isurance company will not raise premiums.