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.
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.
To schedule an appointment for your free consultation, contact Theos Law Firm in Sumter today.
Latest trendsHigher test positivity rates are a sign that many infections are not reported — even if they are tested for at home. This results in a more severe undercount of cases. The number of hospitalized patients with Covid is a more reliable measure because testing is more consistent in hospitals. Read more about the data....
Higher test positivity rates are a sign that many infections are not reported — even if they are tested for at home. This results in a more severe undercount of cases. The number of hospitalized patients with Covid is a more reliable measure because testing is more consistent in hospitals. Read more about the data.
In data for South Carolina, The Times primarily relies on reports from the state. The state releases new data once a week. It released new data daily until June 12, 2021, and new data all weekdays until March 15, 2022. The state reports cases and deaths based on a person’s permanent or usual residence.
The Times has identified reporting anomalies or methodology changes in the data.
The tallies on this page include probable and confirmed cases and deaths.
Confirmed cases and deaths, which are widely considered to be an undercount of the true toll, are counts of individuals whose coronavirus infections were confirmed by a molecular laboratory test. Probable cases and deaths count individuals who meet criteria for other types of testing, symptoms and exposure, as developed by national and local governments.
Governments often revise data or report a single-day large increase in cases or deaths from unspecified days without historical revisions, which can cause an irregular pattern in the daily reported figures. The Times is excluding these anomalies from seven-day averages when possible. For agencies that do not report data every day, variation in the schedule on which cases or deaths are reported, such as around holidays, can also cause an irregular pattern in averages. The Times uses an adjustment method to vary the number of days included in an average to remove these irregularities.
SEM Wafertech Inc. and Solar4America Technology Inc., both owned by renewable energy company SPI Energy Co. Ltd., will establish a presence in South Carolina with a $65.9 million investment in Sumter County.The company said today the solar panel manufacturing project will create 300 new jobs, according to a news release from the South Carolina Commerce Department.SEM Wafertech is a solar wafer manufacturer with headquarters in McClellan Park, Calif., near ...
SEM Wafertech Inc. and Solar4America Technology Inc., both owned by renewable energy company SPI Energy Co. Ltd., will establish a presence in South Carolina with a $65.9 million investment in Sumter County.
The company said today the solar panel manufacturing project will create 300 new jobs, according to a news release from the South Carolina Commerce Department.
SEM Wafertech is a solar wafer manufacturer with headquarters in McClellan Park, Calif., near Sacramento.
“As a global renewable energy company making American-made solar wafers and modules, we recognize the importance of having a strong domestic supply chain to meet the fast-growing demand for affordable solar power,” SEM Wafertech Inc. and Solar4America Technology Inc. Chairman Denton Peng said in the new release. “We plan to bring the highest quality domestically produced solar wafers and modules to market, enhancing our nation’s manufacturing capabilities with a long-term investment that will create good paying jobs for South Carolina.”
The new facility will help meet an increasing need for locally sourced solar wafers as the overall demand for solar power continues to grow in the United States, according to the news release. SEM Wafertech is targeting delivery and production of its first solar wafers in the nation by the end of the year, with capacity ramping to three gigawatts by 2024.
“I am personally thrilled to welcome SEM Wafertech and Solar4America to Sumter County, succeeding many exciting investments announced in recent months across South Carolina,” S.C. House speaker Murrell Smith said in the release. “With an investment of more than $65 million and the creation of 300 new jobs, SEM Wafertech and Solar4America will be welcome additions to the region, and to our state’s growing number of globally recognized renewable energy and EV-related companies — continuing to make our state’s economy diverse and prosperous. I welcome them to the Sumter family, where I know we will create an enduring partnership in our community.” Solar4America is a prime solar module manufacturing company that produces “Made in the USA” solar modules. In combination with its facility in Sacramento, the new South Carolina facility will allow Solar4America to manufacture a wider variety of solar panels for customers, with an aim to increase capacity to 2.4 gigawatts by the end of the year.
SEM Wafertech and Solar4America plan to occupy an existing building located at 1150 Clipper Road in Sumter, where they will design, build out and install a “world-class” silicon wafer slicing facility, the news release said. Silicon wafers produced in the facility will be used in a variety of applications, including photovoltaic cells and semiconductors. Solar panels will serve commercial, residential and industrial energy generation and storage needs.
Operations are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023. Individuals interested in joining the team should visit the company’s website.
“We are thrilled to add another company to our growing family of industrial leaders in Sumter and are enthusiastic about the corporate investment and jobs that will be a result of this project,” Sumter Mayor David Merchant said in the release. “The city of Sumter is also proud to partner with the company to support the needed infrastructure improvements for high quality industrial water and wastewater services.” The Commerce Department’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project. The council also awarded a $1.5 million Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Sumter County to assist with the costs of water and wastewater improvements and building improvements.
Sumter, South Carolina has two big landmarks, Sandy Tomlinson—a retired teacher and long-time Sumter resident—says. The first is the town’s 125-year-old opera house with a stately clock tower that informs residents of the time from all four sides. The second is the world-famous Swan Lake Iris Gardens.
Swan Lake Iris Gardens is not your typical small-town botanical garden, though it certainly retains all of the charm and friendly feel. In fact, it’s the only public park in the United States where bird-lovers can find all eight species of swan. “It may be the only place in the whole world,” Sandy says, who dedicates her time to the continued beautification of the gardens on the Friends of Swan Lake Board.
The prolific garden spans 150 acres in downtown Sumter and plays host to Bewick’s Swans, Black (Australian) Swans, Black-Necked Swans, Coscoroba Swans, Mute Swans, Trumpeter Swans, Tundra Swans (also known as Whistling Swans), and Whooper Swans, all intentionally brought to South Carolina with the goal of cultivating a haven for swans. The eight species have now inhabited Swan Lake for decades and bring forth dozens of cygnets (baby swans) each spring. It’s not an uncommon sight for a mother swan (female swans are called “pens”) to cart her babies around the lake on her back come April and May.
The park was gifted to the town in 1949 under very specific instructions by two prominent businessmen: No one would ever be charged to visit Swan Lake. If at any time the agreement was broken, the land would return to the families of Hamilton Carr Bland and A.T. Heath, Sr.
Hamilton Carr Bland played another very important role in the garden’s renaissance, though he didn’t quite know it at the time. In fact, we covered his “lovely mistake” in our May 1998 issue of Southern Living.
An avid fisherman, Swan Lake once served as Mr. Bland’s private retreat. He purchased swampland adjacent to West Liberty Street with the hope of turning it into a fishing pond. He built up the banks with clippings and constructed little islands. Mr. Bland had also tried to landscape 30 acres of his home with Japanese iris bulbs—a disastrous failure. When they didn’t bloom, in 1927, the frustrated businessman had his gardener dig up the bulbs and throw them into the swamp.
Come spring, the Japanese irises burst forth from their watery grave, creating an “accidental garden” of purple and yellow hues. Visitors to Swan Lake Iris Gardens can now see over 120 varieties of iris painting the garden with colorful strokes in late spring. The irises are widely celebrated each year at Sumter’s Iris Festival over Memorial Day weekend, which holds the title of South Carolina’s longest-running continuous festival (81 years in 2023).
In addition to a spray of irises, Swan Lake Iris Gardens comes alive with camellias, hydrangeas, lilies, azaleas, daylilies, and Japanese magnolias—a small sampling of the garden’s 172 plant species. For each season, there is beauty to behold, Sandy says. In the winter, the city plants pansies to liven up the half-mile walk around the lake. In addition, the Friends of Swan Lake Board has implemented interactive learning stations throughout the park to help visitors understand the unique flora and fauna.
“Cyprus knees stick up all around the edge of the water,” Sandy says. “When the spring starts, there is light green surrounding the trees. In the fall, those little green leaves turn a beautiful golden color.”
Swan Lake Iris Gardens is a horticultural paradise, and not just for the irises. On your walk around the lake, you’ll find side paths to visit the Butterfly Garden—planted to draw in one of the South’s most valuable pollinators—and the quirky Chocolate Garden.
Established in 2009, the Chocolate Garden is a labor of love from Sumter’s Master Gardeners, who care for the space voluntarily. The gardeners have planted chocolate cherry tomatoes, chocolate mini bell peppers, and chocolate corn, all vegetables with chocolate-colored qualities. Some of the flowers and herbs smell “chocolatey,” as well, like Chocolate Daisy, Chocolate Mint, and Chocolate Cosmos. (The list of chocolate-themed plants continues.) This creative addition to Swan Lake Iris Gardens is even brightened up with “white chocolate, strawberry, and banana-colored selections,” the garden’s website states, to present a jovial banana split illusion.
To welcome guests into the park, the Friends of Swan Lake Board rallied together and raised two million dollars for a splashy new entrance. One million went toward a stunning sculpture from renowned artist and Sumter native Grainger McKoy, who unveiled “Seven Swans” in 2020. The sculpture stands at a dramatic twenty-four feet over a fountain and depicts seven swans coming out of the water, representing the Biblical Creation story.
Enter by the sculpture and wander through Swan Lake Iris Gardens for a botanical experience unlike any other in the South. In addition to the swans, bird lovers can spot herons, egrets, wood ducks, Canada geese, muscovies, and over two dozen other species. “Swan Lake is such a beautiful place to see,” Sandy says. “You can go out to the garden and relax on a bench or walk around. It's so calming. People come from all over to sit, think, and pray.”
Admission is always free—even during the highly anticipated Fantasy of Lights when Swan Lake Iris Gardens gets a million-light holiday makeover.
Swan Lake Iris Gardens is located at 822 West Liberty Street in Sumter, South Carolina and is open from 7:30 a.m. to dusk every day (exceptions during inclement weather and the Iris Festival). The Visitors Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Maj. Patricia Ray has been working at the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center for 3.5 years. This year, she was honored by the SC Jail Administrators Association.SUMTER, S.C. — The 2023 South Carolina Jail Director of the Year is from right here in the Midlands. Patricia Ray with the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center was recognized by the South Carolina Jail Administra...
Maj. Patricia Ray has been working at the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center for 3.5 years. This year, she was honored by the SC Jail Administrators Association.
SUMTER, S.C. — The 2023 South Carolina Jail Director of the Year is from right here in the Midlands. Patricia Ray with the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center was recognized by the South Carolina Jail Administrators Association for her work.
Maj. Ray has been working at the Sumter County Detention Center for a little over three years.
“Now I just feel like it's just full circle. I'm back in corrections again,” Ray smiles. “But I like it. I really do.”
Ray started out working in a detention center more than 30 years ago. She then became a class one officer before trying out jail administration. This year, Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis nominated her for the award, which Ray says she won after being voted on by other jail administrators across the state.
“When you look around the territory, look around the state, there are a lot of different detention centers, but I know in my own backyard, we have one of the best to do it and Major Ray is that person,” Midlands Fatherhood Coalition (MFC) Director of Programs Keith Ivey shares.
Ivey says that Ray invites him along with Terrance Osborne to the jail every week to speak with the male inmates about the importance of fatherhood.
“A lot of [the inmates] come to me and they say they really appreciate, you know, the time, energy and effort that she puts in to allow us to really come in because they feel like we're really really touching them,” Osborne explains.
“To want to have a good valuable service to come in and provide services for the guys, it touches your spirit,” Ivey adds about Ray. “And that's what we need. We need people who really care about what they're doing.”
Like Ray, Ivey says, who is working to provide opportunities to inmates, including GED training, connections with local pastors and substance abuse and mental health treatment.
“Because a lot of them when they come, they don't know who they are, what’s the purpose of being here. It’s just so wide open in the streets. This is a slow down time. So once we get them slowed down and get them focused, I just want to put everything in place that they need to say, ‘Hey, you know, I need to be a better mom.’ And here you go. ‘I need my GED.’ Here you go. ‘I'm having problems with drinking and drugs.’ There you go. I want to be able to wrap that person,” Ray explains about jail time. “because you want to make a better person to go out. You don't want them to be the same as when they came in. Because they're just going to go back out and do the same thing again and come back. And they may do that. But I want them to have time to slow down and think about why. Or should I do this again? Or is it worth it?”
When it comes to Ray’s favorite part of the job, she says it’s her co-workers.
“My most favorite thing that I've done since I've been here is holding together a team of people and making them see that they can be the best that they can be and be the best at what they do, love what they do,” Ray explains. “I feel like I've built a very good team since I've been here.”
Alice Drive Elementary School received an "excellent" score of 71 in the South Carolina Readiness Assessment report cards. On Wednesday, staff celebrated.SUMTER, S.C. — South Carolina Ready Assessment report cards have been released showing how schools are performing all over the state. One elementary school in Sumter is celebrating an “excellent” score.“This is a great thing for ...
Alice Drive Elementary School received an "excellent" score of 71 in the South Carolina Readiness Assessment report cards. On Wednesday, staff celebrated.
SUMTER, S.C. — South Carolina Ready Assessment report cards have been released showing how schools are performing all over the state. One elementary school in Sumter is celebrating an “excellent” score.
“This is a great thing for Sumter School District,” Alice Drive Elementary School parent and teacher Holly Williamson shares. “And we need some positivity around Sumter, so this is really good. So I'm so happy for Alice Drive.”
The school is celebrating its newest score from the state department of education, designated as “excellent.”
“When we all come together, that's when we get excellence. So that's why I'm so proud. I feel like this is a whole community that could feel really, really proud of itself for what we've accomplished,” Principal Eric Masaitis says. “I feel like it really makes a difference in the community not only to be proud of the school, but to know that that trust is there. And when the community sees that a school is doing well, they're more likely to trust the school and to trust the teachers. And that takes a little bit of load off teachers who are already working really hard.”
Masaitis says this score, a 71, is up from last year’s score of 59. It measures how students are performing in grades three through eight, tracking their progress in reading, math and science, which Director of Testing and Accountability for Sumter School District Lamont Moore says is important.
“We don't just want to assess our students and never respond to it. Looking at data requires a response and so in order to do that, we have to make sure that we are looking at it on a regular basis, that our teachers know how to analyze it, our leaders know how to analyze it, we're having joint conversations about it, and we're putting in some some interventions and plans in place to respond to it,” Moore says.
Looking at trends across the district for the South Carolina Ready Assessment, the percentage of scores that did not meet expectations lowered across all grade levels in English. In math, the percentage lowered for all grades except 7th and 8th where it increased slightly.
A different set of statistics came out that measures test scores in algebra, biology, English and US history among high schoolers for spring 2023. Each category is up from the previous year, but the only category that is above pre-pandemic scores in 2019 is English. The other three subjects are testing just below.
“We're excited because we're closing the gap and not only that we're going to the next level and pushing our students higher than what they were before this COVID-19 thing happened with us,” Moore says.
When it comes to future plans, Moore says “we're just looking to start having more detailed data dialogue within our schools and getting more personalized with our approach so that every student knows where they need to go to be successful.”
“I heard a quote recently. It says, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ And I love that because we can strategize all we want but if we don't have a culture where we expect excellence all the time from our teachers and from our students, then none of the strategies you put in place are going to work,” Masaitis says. “That's our strategy moving forward is to keep our culture and just keep improving one student at a time.”
According to Masaitis, Alice drive is the first elementary school in Sumter School District to receive an excellent score since 2012.
When asked what the school district credits for the increase in test scores from last year, the district says schools had “an intentional instructional focus that included data disaggregation, student engagement, and additional ELEOT observations, which are student centered observations.”
“We are not perfect. We still have ways to go. But we're showing progress and have a great team,” Moore says.