Three die in separate crashes in 24 hours

Three people died in separate crashes in the Pee Dee and on the Grand Strand in just a 24 hour period.

Though Horry County has seen a rash of deadly crashes recently, Highway Patrol says the number of crash victims in the state is about the same as past years, for now.

The first crash happened around 2:30 Sunday on the Highway 501 Bypass in Marion County. Highway Patrol says the driver of a Ford Explorer veered off the highway, hit a telephone pole, and flipped several times. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the SUV. We are still waiting for the driver's identity to be released.

Around 10 p.m. Sunday, Highway Patrol responded to an accident at Pitch Landing and Pawleys Swamp Road. Troopers say an Acura was traveling north when it hit a person who was standing illegally in the road. Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler says Karen Wills of Enterprise, Alabama died of multiple trauma from being hit by a motor vehicle. The driver of the car was taken to the hospital. No charges are expected.

And just before midnight Sunday, the driver of a 2005 Chevy pickup truck was traveling north on New Market Street near Old Camden Highway in Darlington County, when Highway Patrol says the driver went off the right side, overcorrected, and overturned. The driver was thrown from the truck but had been wearing a seat belt. Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee identified the man as Robert Tyson Miller, 26, of Hartsville. Miller was a Corrections Officer at the Darlington County Detention center. He started working there in June.

"Tyson was excited about starting a career in law enforcement. Although we just got to know him we will miss him terribly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family" said Sheriff Wayne Byrd.

The flags at the Sheriff's Office were lowered to half staff.

All those wrecks happened during the 100 deadly days of summer, when Grand Strand roads are clogged with heavy traffic. But tourists really didn't have much to do with most of the recent deadly crashes.

Many of the vehicles on Grand Strand roads this time of year have out-of-state plates, so when there's a rash of summer wrecks, local people instinctively turn to one cause.

On NewsChannel 15's Facebook page, Dolores Franks commented: "the vacation mentality is the root of most of the problems in the summer."

"People drive like they are on crack!!! We don't venture out during tourist season," Julie Cornell added.

But Richard Smith wrote: "Living here year round it goes far beyond tourists."

Indeed, state troopers say most of the recent deadly crashes have involved only local drivers.

Typically, troopers say, a car will veer off the road and, in a panic, the driver will forget what troopers call "the off rule."

"Take your foot off the gas, off the brake and gently steer the car back to the road. The common mistake most people make is they jerk the steering wheel to the left, which causes the vehicle to go out of control," said Lance Cpl. Sonny Collins.

Over-correcting is a problem and Collins said drivers and passengers not wearing their seat belts just compounds it.

Collins said, from failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian incidents, the recent rash of accidents had a variety of causes and, in most cases, the accidents didn't involve a large number of vehicles.

"We do see a spike in one vehicle collisions," he said. "That is the most common fatal crash we have."