A hit-and-run collision in Horry County, South Carolina (SC), left a moped rider dead and police searching for the driver of a minivan who fled the scene, The deadly crash happened near the intersection of Highway 701 and Pecan Grove Boulevard at around 4:20 am on May 27, 2017.
Local police and state troopers have identified the minivan involved as a dark red Dodge Journey produced after 2008. It is likely to be missing part of its front fender and to have other damage to its rights side. Anyone who spots the suspect vehicle is being asked to call law enforcement officials in nearby Conway at (843) 248-1790 or to contact Crime Stoppers of the Low Country at (888) CRIME-SC.
Investigators did not discuss how they believe the fatal wreck occurred with reporters. It is known that the 46-year-old moped rider did from his injuries before being transported to a hospital and that no evidence exists to indicate that the minivan driver ever stopped after striking the small two-wheeler.
South Carolina laws allow moped riders, like motorcyclists, to use rural highways as long as they turn on their headlights and taillights outside of daylight hours and keep as far to the right in their lane of travel as is safe. State statutes also require all drivers involved in crashes, whether they cause them or not, to remain on the scene until police and emergency medical personnel arrive. Individuals involved in collisions also have a legal duty to check on and, when able to do so, provide first aid.
Rendering aid, or merely comfort, to moped and motorcycle riders hit by larger vehicles is particularly called for. Those people are especially prone to suffering severe and fatal injuries because, as explained in a report issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute, “When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they're more likely to be injured or killed. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2014, the number of deaths on motorcycles was over 27 times the number in cars.”
During 2015, according to data compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 184 motorcycle riders died in wrecks on South Carolina roads and highways. Another 16 “bicyclists and other cyclists” lost their lives. This compared to 994 deaths in vehicle crashes, but far more people travel in cars and trucks than on motorcycles, bikes, and mopeds.
It may never be known whether the moped rider hit and abandoned on Highway 701 in Horry County would have survived if the minivan driver remained on the scene. It is clear, however, that fleeing put the minivan driver in violation of criminal statutes and opened the person up to civil liability for wrongful death claims. Fully holding the hit-and-run driver accountable depends on identifying the person and bringing him or her into custody. My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I hope this happens soon.