Garners Ferry Road walkers voice safety concerns following hit-and-run death of 70-year-old man

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Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 8:50 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbia Police Department is looking for the driver involved in a hit-and-run incident that killed a 70-year-old man.

It happened on Tuesday night around 10 p.m. near the intersection of Garners Ferry Road at Atlas Road. That’s near the Walmart and Lowe’s. Details of the crash are still being investigated, but CPD tells us this is the second pedestrian death along that road just this year. WIS’ Ashley Jones has the latest in this investigation.

The Columbia Police Department traffic unit is reviewing traffic cameras to identify the vehicle. No suspects have been named as of yet, but we do know the 70-year-old man was following traffic signals while using the crosswalk when he was hit.

Tuesday night’s deadly hit and run marked the sixth pedestrian death on Garner’s Ferry Road and the second just this year.

“It’s just a lot of traffic. Pretty much all day,” said Frankie Corchado who walks in the same area.

Those deaths were reported along Garner’s Ferry road – each at the intersections of Patterson, Colonial, Greenlawn, and East Exchange. Columbia Police Department’s Traffic Unit reports these pedestrians were not following signals when crossing.

“I’ve seen people do that in the past. The biggest thing is when you’re walking obey the signs,” said John Riverbark who walks and drives in the area.

Most walkers in the area today say drivers could be more careful.

Corchado says, “Sometimes the driver is not. They are doing whatever but if we don’t look both ways twice and then move, then we might be in danger. So, you know you have to be careful every day.”

More than 80 million dollars has been budgeted for pedestrian road improvements. That’s thanks to Richland County Penny Sales Tax. A spokesperson with the county says so far, they’ve added signals and crosswalks along Garner’s Ferry road and have plans to add those traffic improvements to Garners Ferry and Atlas, but walkers say it still comes down to one thing.

“People just gotta pay attention. Just pay attention. They don’t pay attention enough,” said Marcus Smith, a walker.

Traffic unit investigators are urging anyone with information on this deadly hit and run to call crime stoppers at 1-888-CRIME.

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