November 14, 2005
There is new information in a car crash that killed a Desert Storm veteran this Veterans Day weekend. We now know Thomas Haire of Ninety-Six, South Carolina is the man who died Sunday when his SUV was hit in the side at the intersection of Highway 25 and Bettis Academy Road. It’s a scene neighbors off Bettis Academy say they witness all too much. News 12 talks with a man whose brother died at this intersection last year and is on your side explaining why the Department of Transportation won’t install a traffic light at the intersection despite repeated pleas.
A veteran died Sunday as his SUV smashes like tin foil at the intersection of Bettis Academy Road and Highway 25.
“He survived the war, but he could not survive this intersection,” said Saundra Curry.
It’s another death neighbor Saundra Curry witnessed.
“We had the one that died yesterday. We had one that died here last year about this time and over the years we had one that died right here by this mail box and we had one that died in the ditch over there,” Curry said.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation says 28 accidents happened at the intersection of Bettis Academy Road and Highway 25 in the last 10 years.
“It was devastating,” said Henry Tillman.
One of those killed Henry Tillman’s brother, Charlie. Last November his car was pushed into the wall of this building.
“Me and my brother were very close, very close. It changed my life a whole lot,” Tillman said.
In the summer of 2004 turning lanes were put in to fix the troubled intersection, but neighbors say they haven’t worked. They say the only thing that will fix this intersection is a light.
Saundra has been fighting for that traffic light for about a year.
“This is the first letter that I sent down,” Curry said.
She’s written letters to state lawmakers, called the DOT, and even visited her congressmen in Washington D.C.
The DOT tells News 12 they can’t install a light here because not enough cars use the road and not enough accidents happen.
“When these regulations are not keeping the people safe, they need to look into it and keep people safe,” Curry said.
Saundra asks DOT officials to reconsider their criteria.
“How many people have to lose their lives here, will it take for your spouse to come down this road and lose his life or her life before you honor our plea?” Curry said.
The driver’s parents were also in the car. They are at MCG Hospital right now.