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What Should You Do After a Car Accident in South Carolina?

The moments following the crash are often a blur when you're involved in a car accident. However, per South Carolina law, those on the scene must adhere to legal responsibilities and obligations.

First, try to stop your car and ensure it is positioned safely near the scene of the crash. Then, call 911 to report the accident. While most folks go into full-blown panic mode, you need to stay calm so you can process the situation. If you notice that there are injured people, give them "reasonable assistance." Per South Carolina Code of Laws, that could include transporting hurt people to a hospital or calling an ambulance for them.

If you're in a car crash, you need to be prepared to exchange contact information with other drivers at the accident scene. If the person who caused the collision is present, make sure to get their name, phone number, address, and insurance info. If witnesses are present, get their contact info, too, in case our team needs to obtain their account later.

Next, try to piece together how the car crash happened. This is an appropriate time to take photos of the cars, wreckage, and debris. Ask yourself if you think a vehicle failed to follow the rules of the road, like speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign.

Regardless of how minor your injuries may appear and who may be to blame for the accident, get legal advice from Theos Law Firm first before giving any recorded statements or refusing medical care.

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A Personal Injury Attorney in Lexington, SC You Can Trust

Time and again, auto accident victims agree to early settlements provided by insurance companies because the offer seems like a lot. But what if you return to work after recovering from an accident, only for your pain to return?

With adjusters, lawyers, and investigators at their disposal, insurance agencies will do everything in their power to minimize the compensation you deserve. Don't let them pick on you or silence your voice. If you or a loved are victims of a negligent car or truck accident in South Carolina, contact Theos Law Firm today. We have the team, tools, and experience to fight back on your behalf, no matter how complicated your case may seem.

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As fall approaches, COVID on the rise again in SC, Lexington County

Regardless of whether we still want to talk about it, COVID-19 is on the rise again in South Carolina and Lexington County.That’s what Dr. Jonathan Knoche, a medical consultant with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, told the Chronicle as he helped contextualize COVID numbers acquired by the paper from May through August.From May 6 to June 24, weekly hospital admissions of confirmed COVID patients — the metric now used to set warning levels for the virus from low to medium to high by the Cente...

Regardless of whether we still want to talk about it, COVID-19 is on the rise again in South Carolina and Lexington County.

That’s what Dr. Jonathan Knoche, a medical consultant with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, told the Chronicle as he helped contextualize COVID numbers acquired by the paper from May through August.

From May 6 to June 24, weekly hospital admissions of confirmed COVID patients — the metric now used to set warning levels for the virus from low to medium to high by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — mostly went down in the state, lowering from 88 to 56 by June 24.

But since then, the state has mostly seen a sharp increase, hitting 102 on July 22, 107 on July 29, 161 on Aug. 5 and 246 on Aug. 12 and 19.

“We've kind of been at a generally low level of circulation in the community, but over the course of the last month and a half or so we're starting to see the number of hospitalizations go back up and the percentage of [emergency department] visits due to COVID also increasing,” Knoche said. “For July 1, that week, the percentage of ED visits due to COVID was 0.5%. And for the week of Aug. 19, that weekly percentage of ED visits was 3%. So that's six times as many.”

He noted that the current numbers aren’t terrible — there were 793 people admitted to hospitals in the state with COVID the week of Dec. 31, 2022, he cited as an example of how bad it’s been in the past — but people should still be concerned and take caution.

The fall and the holidays have seen a pattern of spikes, so the numbers could continue to rise.

“That's why you're hearing public health professionals, physicians, people's primary care doctors really strongly recommending that people stay up to date with their vaccines,” Knoche said. “Because the time that people need it is when they're traveling, when they're getting together with their loved ones during Thanksgiving and over Christmas. Those holidays, those family gatherings and travel are when you see opportunity for these viruses to spread.”

While there are a variety of factors that are likely playing into the rise in COVID cases — recent high temperatures pushing people to congregate inside, for instance — Knoche emphasized that the expected mid-September recommendation of a new COVID vaccine that protects against the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant could be a particular help, as the virus’ mutation could be part of what is driving the increase in hospitalizations, particularly when it comes to people who are getting COVID again.

He added that typical good habits when it comes to respiratory illness also help stem the spread, including washing hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes and not going into school or work if you are ill.

Case numbers shared by DHEC for Lexington County and neighboring Richland County fall in line with the rise in COVID statewide.

In Lexington, there were 106 new COVID cases on May 6, with that number mostly going down each week through July 1, when the county had 58. The county has since seen sharp increases, hitting 112 on July 22, 142 on July 29, 240 on Aug. 5, 293 on Aug. 12, 400 on Aug. 19 and 608 on Aug. 26.

Richland saw much the same arc during that time, going from 148 on May 6 to 93 on June 24, and then climbing to 155 on July 22, 185 on July 29, 318 on Aug. 5, 496 on Aug. 12, 563 on Aug. 19 and 898 on Aug. 23.

Knoche cautioned that these numbers might actually be higher than what’s been reported, as the results of at-home tests often don’t make it to DHEC.

Lexington County saw a total of eight COVID deaths between May and Aug. 19, he said.

Weekly hospital admission figures from May through August weren’t immediately available, but both counties saw a spike recently.

In both counties, there were 38 new patients with confirmed COVID admitted to local hospitals in the week leading up to Aug. 12, a 65.2% increase from the previous week, before dropping slightly to 37 in the week leading up to Aug. 19.

That Aug. 12 increase is sharper than the nationwide increase during the same stretch, which was 21%, as 12,613 new confirmed COVID patients were admitted to hospitals throughout the U.S.

The hospitalization numbers are still well below the threshold to raise the county’s Hospital Admissions Level from low to medium, which is 10 admissions per 100,000 people. As of Aug. 19, the latest date for which the levels were updated, the 37 cases in the Lexington area equated to 4.8 admissions per 100,000 people.

Lexington Medical Center, the 607-bed teaching hospital in West Columbia, told the Chronicle it has seen a recent spike in COVID patients, going from a census of nine patients with the virus the week of Aug. 20 to 26 on Aug. 28.

Knoche said that while the recent rise in COVID represents a particular threat to those who are elderly or immunocompromised, getting this message through to the public can be difficult at this point.

“I think that there's a significant amount of fatigue related to hearing about COVID,” he said. “And I get it. I've also been working on this as the beginning of the pandemic, and sometimes you're tired of working on it and trying to say the same thing and message it. But it doesn't change the fact that it's still here. It doesn't change the fact that it's still harming people. And that won't change the fact that we're still going to try our best to educate people about the risks and and the way to reduce those risks by being vaccinated and practicing good health practices.”

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A look at Lexington County's 57-acre housing and retail development

According to residents, the land used to be full of trees. Now it's a construction site, and soon, a new housing and shopping development.LEXINGTON, S.C. — An area near Red Bank in Lexington is starting to look very different as developers turn a 50-acre plot of land into shopping and residential property.Austin Dunn is a physical therapist and a client director at Drayer Physical Therapy along Platt Springs Road in Lexingt...

According to residents, the land used to be full of trees. Now it's a construction site, and soon, a new housing and shopping development.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — An area near Red Bank in Lexington is starting to look very different as developers turn a 50-acre plot of land into shopping and residential property.

Austin Dunn is a physical therapist and a client director at Drayer Physical Therapy along Platt Springs Road in Lexington. He's been at the location for two years and recalls seeing a large plot of trees across the street, but he said that the landscape is changing quickly.

"We've seen the trees swaying like the Lorax, falling down. But as I've been coming to work the last few weeks, I've seen more and more clearance and now it's basically a dirt lot."

That's a similar story for Brittany Harris; she lives by the property and has seen it change shape.

"I just noticed they were clearing the area out. A lot of different work trucks and different people out there sometimes during the day. I just kinda figure that they were probably going to put another housing development over there or something," she said.

It's all part of a 50-acre development, according to the NAI Columbia commercial real estate firm.

A press release from the company said the group will be developing the area into a mixed-use area named 'Platt Springs Crossing.' The firm said it will be "bringing multiple national and regional users, along with a residential component, to a growing Lexington market."

The idea of a new place to shop or live makes Harris excited about the possibilities.

"I would definitely like to have another sit-down eatery spot. Just, you know, more family oriented where me and my family can come sometimes on the weekend and just dine in."

Dunn, a White Knoll high school graduate, claims he's seen the area take shape over decades. He's excited an increase in population could mean more business-

"Being a physical therapist, that's my main thing, is trying to help people get better. If there's any injuries or anything else going on...I can get a better opportunity to help people, then that's the main goal."

We reached out to NAI Columbia, who said they are not yet releasing information about the possible businesses or plans for the development.

FBI Columbia opens new field office in Lexington

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Until Thursday, the FBI’s Columbia agents were spread across the city. With the new Columbia field office now open, everyone is under one roof.“This new facility employs modern technology and information sharing capabilities, which allows us to perform and get ahead of the threat and keep America safe,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Philip TejeraThe 87,000 square foot facility provides a large office space for investigators to conduct their work and solve crimes. It aims to ser...

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Until Thursday, the FBI’s Columbia agents were spread across the city. With the new Columbia field office now open, everyone is under one roof.

“This new facility employs modern technology and information sharing capabilities, which allows us to perform and get ahead of the threat and keep America safe,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Philip Tejera

The 87,000 square foot facility provides a large office space for investigators to conduct their work and solve crimes. It aims to serve as a hub where local, state, and federal agencies can share information and resources.

FBI Director Chris Wray was in attendance Thursday morning to help Columbia’s Special Agent in Charge, Steven Jensen, cut the ribbon on the new facility.

“As we begin our new chapter, let us not forget the spirit of collaboration this building represents,” Jensen said. He added, “It’s a hub where local, state, and federal agencies can converge and share intelligence, expertise, and resources to protect South Carolinians.”

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Philip Tejera says the new space makes it easier for him to meet with his supervisors and investigators. He feels it not only makes it easier to share resources, but also easier to collaborate with other agents and organizations.

“It gives me the opportunity to get in front of not only my supervisors but my investigators on a day-to-day basis to interact with them, understand what they need, and how I can support them.” Tejera said, adding “It’s been exceptional to provide that type of service for the employees here (in) one location.

FBI Columbia plans to use the new office space here to continue expanding its network in hopes of working with more local organizations.Notice a spelling or grammar error in this article? Click or tap here to report it. Please include the article’s headline.

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Rare $2M trip-and-fall verdict awarded to senior woman hurt in Lexington County accident

A Lexington County resident recently was awarded $2 million by a jury after offering to settle for less than 10% of that amount following a trip-and-fall accident at a county-managed facility.Donna Roland sued Lexington County in October of 2020 after she says she tripped and fell while stepping down from a curb leaving the Lexington County Auxiliary Administration building, located at 605 West Main St. She visited the location to drop off an absentee ballot as a means of taking safety precautions while voting during the height of the...

A Lexington County resident recently was awarded $2 million by a jury after offering to settle for less than 10% of that amount following a trip-and-fall accident at a county-managed facility.

Donna Roland sued Lexington County in October of 2020 after she says she tripped and fell while stepping down from a curb leaving the Lexington County Auxiliary Administration building, located at 605 West Main St. She visited the location to drop off an absentee ballot as a means of taking safety precautions while voting during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the fall, Roland, who was 60 years old at the time, broke her arm in two places and had to undergo surgery 10 days later, according to Robert Goings, Roland’s lawyer.

Roland incurred $92,000 in medical bills and offered to settle with the county for $150,000, but Lexington County declined that offer.

Two-and-half years after the fall, a three-day trial ensued in a Lexington County court. And in less than 25 minutes on Wednesday, a unanimous $2 million verdict was announced in Roland’s favor. Judge Walton McLeod presided over the trial.

It was first time in Goings’ 15-year career that he’s seen a verdict so large in a county that’s historically conservative and reluctant to award such large monetary verdicts.

“I think this verdict reflects that Lexington County citizens are fed up with Lexington County government taking their tax dollars and doing nothing,” Goings said. “And the question is how many more citizens have to fall and get severely hurt before the county does the right thing and fix the sidewalk?”

Goings said Roland fell because of a channel or gap — about 3 inches wide and a half-inch deep — between the sidewalk and curb in front of the Lexington County Auxiliary Administrative building. Unaware of the defect, Goings said his client’s foot got caught in the gap as she was leaving the sidewalk and attempting to step down from the curb.

In their reply to the suit, lawyers for Lexington County argued, among other things, they lacked notice of the sidewalk’s condition because there hadn’t been a reported fall or complaint about the sidewalk area where Roland fell in the 19 years since the county bought the building in 2001 before Roland’s 2020 fall.

Goings, however, argued — and the jury agreed — that just because no one had fallen or complained about the sidewalk’s condition prior to Roland, it didn’t excuse the county of notice. But even if it had, the county’s risk manager, Sarah Lind, ultimately testified in a deposition that the county was in fact aware of the defect and that repairs were a “top priority,” according to Goings.

Lind “said it was a top priority and that they were going to get the (sidewalk) fixed,” Goings said. “Guess what? They never fixed it. And the testimony was that it would only take one or two bags of concrete at about $15 a bag to fix this.”

In his closing arguments, Goings delivered two 50 pound bags of concrete to the defense, a move he said resonated with the jury.

“I said (during my closing) what’s cheaper: ‘Nearly $100,000 in medical bills and permanent injury or two bags of concrete?’” Goings said. “The county lawyers left the bags of concrete in the courtroom and didn’t take it, so I dropped the bags off to the voter registration office after the trial in order to speed up their efforts to fix this dangerous condition.”

Efforts by The State to reach lawyers for Lexington County were unsuccessful.

Javon L. Harris is a politics and legislative reporter for The State. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. Before coming to South Carolina, Javon covered breaking news, local government and social justice for The Gainesville Sun in Florida.

Reclassification sees four Lexington County teams move up

The South Carolina High School League released its finalized classification plan, with four Lexington County schools changing classes and one being placed for the first time.Gray Collegiate will jump two classifications from 2A to 4A, Irmo will be bumped to 5A from 4A, and Brookland-Cayce and Gilbert will go from 3A to 4A, according to a release from the SCHSL sent to the Chronicle.The new alignment will take effect during the 2024-25 school year. Schools who disagree with their placement have the opportunity to appeal and pres...

The South Carolina High School League released its finalized classification plan, with four Lexington County schools changing classes and one being placed for the first time.

Gray Collegiate will jump two classifications from 2A to 4A, Irmo will be bumped to 5A from 4A, and Brookland-Cayce and Gilbert will go from 3A to 4A, according to a release from the SCHSL sent to the Chronicle.

The new alignment will take effect during the 2024-25 school year. Schools who disagree with their placement have the opportunity to appeal and present their case.

Realignment in the state happens every two years and is based on the 45-day enrollment total for grades 9-11. This year’s process drew much more attention than previous ones.

These changes come off the heels of the SCHSL’s proposal to address competitive balance amongst public, private and charter schools. This is the first wave of realignment with the new 3.0x multiplier out-of-zone attendance multiplier in place.

The multiplier is why schools like Gray are jumping multiple classifications.

The total 8-12 enrollment at Gray is 870, according to a report by U.S. News and World Report. With the 3.0x multiplier applied to all out-of-zone students, the enrollment for 9-11 alone jumps to 1,296, which is the seventh highest in all of future 4A, according to the SCHSL release.

American Leadership Academy is an at-large member of the SCHSL right now, meaning they have no region or class. The school was put into class 3A for next year and will have the highest enrollment of any 3A school, with 934 after the multiplier according to the league release.

Irmo will move up, becoming the sixth 5A school in the county, joining the five schools that presently make up the Region 4 conference. The SCHSL Reclassification/Realignment Guidelines Committee also recommended 5A be split and crown two champions in every sport.

Gilbert and Brookland-Cayce will go from 3A to 4A, joining Airport. Pelion, Batesburg-Leesville and Swansea all remain in their current classification.

The next step in the alignment process is the call for appeals from member schools who disagree with the league’s decision. The schools have until Jan. 9 to file an appeal, and the league’s executive committee will meet Jan. 18-19 to discuss it.

After this schools will be placed into regions based on location, followed by another appeal process for this.

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