Accident leads to traffic changes in Mt. Pleasant intersection

Mt. Pleasant town leaders hope to purchase new traffic equipment for the intersection above on Park West Blvd. (John Gaddy/WCIV)

By Natalie Caula

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- There's hardly a break between cars traveling along Park West Boulevard and about a month ago police say one driver failed to stop as a child crossed the street. In the aftermath of the accident, town officials hope new traffic equipment will increase safety for pedestrians.

According to an incident report dated for January 6th, the child, a Cario Middle School student, was crossing the street at the intersection where Mt. Pleasant Recreation and Madison at Park West condominiums sit.

In the report, police say they arrived on the scene to find the little girl "laying in the middle of the intersection."

Leslie Gandy told police she and her husband were driving home along Park West Boulevard when they stopped at the intersection to allow a group of children to cross the road. She says she then saw a car keep going and strike a little girl.

"She was actually thrown way out there. She came down on the other side of the median, and we ran to her," Gandy said.

According to the incident report, the child landed 42 feet from the left tire skid mark and 50 feet from the right tire skid mark.

The report stated the child was unconscious and unresponsive at the time police arrived. She was sent to the hospital and was later released.

Since the accident, questions arose about why there was no crossing guard. According to officials, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office evaluates whether or not crossing guards are granted to certain streets.

Charleston County Sheriff's Office Captain Eric Watson says their office is currently in the process of evaluation, which then moves on to consideration by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT).

Town Administrator Eric DeMoura says that could take months, so the town decided to place a police officer at the intersection, as a short term solution, as they await the possibility of a crossing guard. DeMoura also says he's working on buying and installing traffic improvements that would catch the attention of motorists who drive through the intersection.

"It's a newer technology of rapidly flashing beacons," DeMoura said.

The administrator says the lights would be triggered by pedestrians pressing a button when they cross the street. DeMoura says they already have money for the equipment in the budget but still have to work on the design and acquiring the materials. He hopes the light will increase safety at all times.

"Many times children are going to the recreation center to play during times there would not be a scheduled crossing guard, so there would still be a void," DeMoura said.

He hopes the light will fill that gap. Others, like Gandy, who experienced a violent crash at the intersection says she's thrilled the town is moving in the right direction.