By HEATHER WALTERS
The S.C. Highway patrol is investigating a case of drag racing in Colleton County that resulted in a woman being critically injured. On Sunday, April 18th, at about 9 p.m., a 67-year-old Colleton woman was driving down Lowcountry Highway near Smoaks when her vehicle was struck head-on by a man who was allegedly drag-racing.
According to Barry McRoy, chief of Colleton County Fire-Rescue, a 911-emergency caller stated that a street racer had struck the woman’s vehicle. The woman was in critical condition when firefighter-paramedics arrived on scene, said McRoy. She was taken to Colleton Medical Center to be stabilized before she was transported to Trident Medical Center.
According to Trooper Tyler Tidwell, with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the highway patrol’s MATE Team is investigating this drag racing case in Colleton County. The MATE Team is a specialized team that investigates “complex collisions,” he said.
As of press deadline on Tuesday, this case was still under an active investigation. The identity of the male driver of the vehicle that struck the victim’s vehicle is being withheld, pending the investigation results. Drag racing in Colleton County is a criminal activity that is becoming more and more common. This newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. Based on information provided by the sheriff’s office from that request, there was a total of 99 drag racing incidents documented in Colleton County in 2020 by the sheriff’s office. Some of these incidents were large, resulting in multiple arrests at once.
In addition to these incidents documented by the sheriff’s office, there are additional drag racing cases investigated by the S.C. Highway Patrol. According to Shalane Lowes, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, there are a few areas in the county that are more popular than others for street racing. These areas are along Ritter Road and Bowman Road and on Highway 21, near a recreational ball field. Street racing isn’t just dangerous for those racing, but also for the motorists travelling in these areas. It is also dangerous for the residents who live in the area, she said. “This is an illegal activity in itself, but the safety hazards and the consequences that come from street racing are extensive,” she said.