2020 sets record in fatal wrecks

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Colleton County ended 2020 with 39 fatal wrecks, the most since Colleton Fire-Rescue began keeping records of fatalities in in 2004.

“Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey said he remembers having 39 one time before,” said Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy. “But Colleton County usually has 16-22 fatal accidents a year. So 2020, unfortunately, resulted in about twice the norm. Until this year, the highest number we recorded was in 2005 with 27 fatal accidents. The fewest number was in 2013 with 13.”

In 2020, Fire-Rescue responded to 33 accidents resulting in 39 deaths. Two accidents resulted in three deaths and two wrecks in two deaths.

Other statistics include:

• Eight wrecks on I-95 accounted for nine deaths: seven with one fatality each and one with two. Five wrecks were in the northbound side and four in the southbound lanes.

• Six wrecks were head-on collisions.

• Seven wrecks involved vehicles hitting trees.

• Two involved pedestrians.

• Of the 39 killed, 28 were not wearing seatbelts.

• Nine of those 28 patients were ejected or partially ejected from their vehicles.

• Seatbelt-use in two wrecks was not known due to the vehicles being burned.

• In contrast, only five of the 39 people killed were wearing seatbelts.

• Two fatal wrecks involved motorcycles.

• Sixteen of the vehicles turned over.

“High speeds and the lack of seatbelt use were the common factors,” McRoy said.

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