Law enforcement has stepped up its presence on Interstate 26 because of a local legislator’s concerns about public safety,
“I never expected such a fast, prompt response. I’ve been getting calls from people thanking me for requesting that,” said State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston.
Gilliard said Thursday that he wants state Department of Transportation traffic cameras to be outfitted to record activity on I-26. He plans to meet with the DOT and the state Department of Public Safety to pursue the issue.
Gilliard asked for increased patrols and surveillance on I-26 in North Charleston because of speeding and people getting shot while driving on the highway. He said speeders are often teenagers acting out behavior they see in movies and music videos.
“It’s like a fad to the young people,” he said.
As a result of Gilliard’s concerns, North Charleston police and the S.C. Highway Patrol are coordinating speed enforcement from Exit 203 east to Exit 216.
Safety checkpoints on the eastbound entrance ramp to I-26 at Ashley Phosphate Road are being conducted by North Charleston police, the Highway Patrol and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
Seat belt enforcement on Ashley Phosphate and Stall roads has increased police presence near nightclubs generating some of the problems on I-26, DPS Director Leroy Smith said in a March 13 letter to Gilliard.
The Highway Patrol has increased its presence on I-26 between 2 and 5 a.m. in the area of Ashley Phosphate Road and I-26 as a deterrent to criminal activity, particularly driving under the influence, Smith said.
Since June 2011, eight incidents involving gunfire on I-26 have occurred from near Montague Avenue to U.S. Highway 78. The shootings killed two people and left five wounded. Police have arrested one shooting suspect and have possible suspects in two other shootings, but the remainder are unsolved, police said.
Police do not think the shootings are random.