Deadly moped accident the latest in rash of hit-and-run cases

The driver who hit and killed a moped passenger in Horry County is still on the run, as South Carolina Highway Patrol looks to the public for help.

State troopers say a white or silver Nissan Pathfinder struck the moped from behind on U.S. Highway 501 on the Waccamaw Pottery bridge about 3 a.m. Saturday.

The passenger died hours later.

The SUV would have damage to the front driver's side and be missing the front driver's side wheel well cover.

If you have any information about the crash, the SUV, or the driver, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-crime-s-c.

The accident is just the latest in a rash of hit-and-runs on the Grand Strand this summer that have caused serious injuries and more than one death.

The list includes a pedestrian accident on S.C. 544 in May and a deadly bicycle crash in Myrtle Beach last month.

Prosecutors say most hit-and-run accidents share a couple of things in common: the driver is usually caught and the law makes an assumption about the driver's behavior.

"If you leave the scene, we assume that you were drinking," said 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.

Richardson says that's why the state's legal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident perfectly mirror those of felony DUI.

The charge carries a minimum of 30 days in jail for an accident involving great bodily injury, and a minimum of one year, and up to 25 years in prison, for an accident involving death.

Richardson says often a driver involved in an accident just gets scared, or is worried about some other - often minor - violation in his or her past.

"You're sitting there saying, if you had only stopped, if you had just stayed there, chances are, you may have gotten a traffic ticket at worst," Richardson said.

Even if you've been drinking, Richardson advises that it's best to stay at the scene of an accident and report it yourself. You'll be given some consideration for having done the right thing.

"You stop, you're going to get credit for that. The judge, or your defense attorney's going to tell him, 'He stayed right there, with everything on him.' So that's the worst case scenario."

Richardson says it's a natural reaction to want to flee a scary situation, but a driver involved in an accident should try to resist that urge.

He says morally, you should do whatever you can to help a person who was hurt, but legally all you have to do is just stay at the scene and call 911.