Crime & Public Safety

15 crashes in 14 days: Beaufort area fire dept. warns of pattern of injured children

South Carolina traffic collisions by the numbers

More than 141,000 traffic collisions were recorded in South Carolina in 2017. Here's why there were so many.
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More than 141,000 traffic collisions were recorded in South Carolina in 2017. Here's why there were so many.

A fire district in Beaufort County, noting that it has responded to 15 car crashes in 14 days, wants the public to make the use of seat belts and child restraints a priority, according to a news release from the Burton Fire District.

“What is particularly tragic is that almost all of [the 15 crashes] could have been prevented by seat belts and properly restraining children,” Burton Fire Captain Bobby Davidson said.

Between Aug. 8 and Aug. 31, the fire district — which has stations in Burton Hill, Grays Hill, Shell Point, Pinewood and Habersham in Beaufort County — treated 25 injured people, the release said. It’s not clear how many of those injured were children.

Multiple people were injured in four of those crashes, the release said.

Burton Fire is attributing those injuries to lack of seat belts and to ill-fitting car seats for children.

Just before 10 p.m. on Aug. 21, a vehicle rolled over on Trask Parkway and ejected all three people in the car. A child about 3 years old was not properly restrained and was treated for life-threatening injuries after being thrown from the car, the release said.

Around 9 a.m. Aug. 28, an unrestrained child fell out of a moving car, also on Trask Parkway. The 2-year-old child was transported to the hospital with what appeared to be life-threatening injuries, the release said.

On Aug. 30, five people were injured in one of two daytime crashes on Parris Island Gateway.

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Burton Fire District

Burton Fire Captain Daniel Byrne said due to Hurricane Dorian-related travel, there will be “anxious drivers and crowded roadways” in the upcoming days.

“Driving in firetrucks up high, we can see into vehicles and see unrestrained kids all the time,” Bryne said.

Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services and the Bluffton Fire District offer car-seat training and inspection programs for free, according to the release.

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.