Man charged with felony DUI after hitting construction worker

Construction worker hit by vehicle. (Evan Kelly/WCIV)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A construction worker was seriously injured in Mount Pleasant Monday morning. Police say he was hit by a driver, who was under the influence.

Investigators say the worker was in a construction zone, paving a lane on Highway 17. The victim was hit and thrown into a machine that spreads asphalt.

The accident happened around 3:30 a.m., near George Browder Boulevard, not far from Park West. Officers say an SUV driven by Daniel Hamrick, drove into the construction zone, and collided with one of the men on the job. Police said his injuries were life threatening, and he had to be flown to MUSC.

Later on Monday, drivers in the same area gave their take on the possible danger for road crews.

"They're out there with just no protection," said Helen Hernanskey.

"You have a lot of congestion, you have to cope with the circumstances," Robert Graybeal said.

People in Mount Pleasant say they have adjusted their driving habits around the project. In the case of Monday morning's crash, officers say Hamrick was under the influence and compromised everyone's safety.

"I think that eventually, after this accident, they may make this one (speed limit) 35," said Kenna Sellers.

For the last month, speed limits on portions of Highway 17 have been lowered, down from 45 miles per hour to 35 mph. The posted limit where this accident happened remains 45 mph.

Meantime, construction will continue.

"Those are the conditions you usually have to cope with and you try to be as safe and drive as safe as you can, and be aware as much as you can," added Graybeal.

According to Mount Pleasant officials, this is the most severe safety incident since construction started.

The victim's ID has not been released. Hamrick is charged with felony DUI and will appear in bond court Tuesday.