Crime & Public Safety

British couple’s lawsuit lists new reason for Sea Pines trolley crash that injured 4

How has Sea Pines changed since its inception

David Pearson, one of the early promoters of Sea Pines, talks about how it, and Hilton Head Island, has changed since he was here in the 1960s.
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David Pearson, one of the early promoters of Sea Pines, talks about how it, and Hilton Head Island, has changed since he was here in the 1960s.

A couple visiting Hilton Head Island from England last summer has filed a lawsuit against Sea Pines Plantation Trolley after they were both “significantly injured” in the gated community’s trolley crash in May, according to court documents.

Alison and Paul McGee suffered broken bones and were transported to different hospitals after the driver lost control of the trolley around 4:30 p.m. May 11 and it crashed into a tree off Lighthouse Road, according to court documents in the Beaufort County 14th Judicial Circuit filed April 9.

The suit cites a new reason the air-conditioned trolley went off the road, though.

While the S.C. Highway Patrol attributed the crash to a “medical-related” incident, the suit says the crash happened because the trolley driver “leaned down to take a drink from a cup placed on or near the floor of the vehicle, thereby losing control of the trolley and causing it to veer off the road and crash into a tree.”

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Attorney Colin Ram, submitted.

“Had proper safety practices been followed by the Sea Pines trolley management and its driver, this accident simply would not have occurred,” attorney Colin Ram, who is representing the couple for McLeod Law Group, told The Island Packet.

Asked Thursday if the S.C. Highway Patrol has any record of that in the collision report, spokesperson Matt Southern said “no.”

Contacted Wednesday about the new litigation, Sea Pines Community Services Associates president Bret Martin responded with a written statement.

“Our thoughts and concerns continue regarding the well-being of those who were involved in the incident. The safety and security of Sea Pines property owners, guests, visitors and staff are of paramount importance to Sea Pines CSA.” the statement said.

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Attorney Colin Ram, submitted.

The McGees were visiting from Leeds, England, and had to extend their trip to be treated in area hospitals, according to the suit.

“The best way to ensure that (tourism) does not suffer when visitors are injured is to hold irresponsible parties accountable for their actions. In this case, Sea Pines management must answer for the significant and life changing injuries suffered by the trolley passengers who mistakenly placed their trust in them,” Ram said Wednesday.

Four people were injured in the crash, including a 3-year-old and her mother, who filed a lawsuit against the Sea Pines trolley company in November.

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Attorney Colin Ram, submitted.

Editor’s Note: All lawsuits represent one side of a legal argument. The Island Packet gives all sides in a lawsuit the opportunity to comment on litigation, and those attempts are documented here.

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Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.