Police turn up interstate heat
Fri, Jun 1, 2007
Sgt. Wayne Duke delivers a citation Thursday afternoon on I-20, after meeting some New Jersey travelers who were clocked at 87 miles an hour in a 70 zone. Photo by Bill Bengtson
By KAREN DAILY
Edie Graham knows how fragile life can be — her son Gary Graham Jr. was just 18 when a drunken driver plowed into his 1978 pickup truck and killed him instantly.
"These are people, not statistics," said Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton. "They have left behind mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters."
This year the family members of 13 men and six women have received that same awful knock at the door that Edie Graham received more than two years ago.
Graham, now a Community Action Site leader for the Aiken County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is working with law enforcement officers in the area with the hopes that another mother won't have to suffer the same pain she endures.
With the 100 deadliest days of summer travel still ahead, law enforcement officers from the two-state area stepped up enforcement on the interstate Thursday, hoping, like Graham, to prevent roadway deaths.
Thursday's patrol was part of the second annual summer heat enforcement program.
"Our goal and mission is to save lives on our highways," said Capt. Chris Williamson with the S.C. Highway Patrol.
About 150 officers from Columbia County, Ga., to Florence were out in full force to stop speeding motorists, impaired drivers, seat belt violations and aggressive drivers.
In Aiken County on Thursday, a Chapin driver was stopped for traveling 101 mph in a 70 mph zone, police said. The teenage girl had just turned 17.
That same stretch of I-20 running though Aiken County where the 17-year-old was stopped has proven to be especially dangerous this year.
Seven of the 19 motorists killed in the county this year were involved in collisions on the interstate.
Last year there were no fatalities reported on the stretch of I-20 running through Aiken County.
Contact Karen Daily at firstname.lastname@example.org