Last year, Lexington County proved to be one of the deadliest counties in the state when it came to motor vehicle wrecks. Especially when it came to pedestrians and motorcyclists.
And in 2012?
2012 is even worse. In fact, Lexington County roadways, to date, are the deadliest among the state's 46 counties so far. Second place? Richland County.
Prior to the Memorial Day weekend, Lexington County led all counties with 27 traffic deaths, followed by Richland, which had 22 -- tying it with Greenville County, according to The State newspaper.
However, since Friday, four additional people have died on Lexington County roadways.
According to Lexington County Coroner Harry Harman, Chavis was traveling northbound on Whetstone Road toward Swansea when he ran his motorcycle into the passenger side of a 2012 Mustang which had just pulled out from a stop sign on Woodford Road.
In the second wreck, which occurred around 4:15 a.m. Sunday, while he was traveling eastbound on Juniper Springs Road, Harman said. Smith, a Gilbert High School student, lost control of his 2001 Mustang, overcorrected, and went off the left side of the road, striking a pine tree, Harman said.
Just the day before, on Friday, Robert A. Beaver, 27, of Leesville was driving a 2003 Mazda Protégé in the 3000 block of U.S. Highway 378 westbound when he lost control of his vehicle, ran off the roadway, and struck a guardrail and a pedestrian, who was later identified as Terry R. Parker, 57, of Marion, NC.
Nearly half of Lexington's traffic fatalities this year have been caused by drunk drivers, The State reported. “The mindset in Lexington County is it’s OK to drink and drive," State Highway Patrol Sgt. Kelley Hughes told the paper.
“We see more and more DUI arrests during the day and during the week,” Hughes said. “And along with the DUIs, we see high speed and no seat belt.”
But it's not just booze.
“It’s the same old stuff –- people not wearing seat belts, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, not wearing motorcycle helmets,” Richland County Coroner Gary Watts told the paper.
“Most of these deaths could be avoided,” he said.