Boy, 6, is third pedestrian hit in week Rash of auto-related incidents highlights traffic dangers in increasingly urban tri-county

The 6-year-old boy was walking to school on a North Charleston sidewalk. He didn’t make it.

An SUV or minivan swerved into his path, jumped a curb and rammed into him.

The driver didn’t stop to check on the injured boy. Now, the S.C. Highway Patrol is asking for help to find the suspect.

The agency on Thursday would not provide the incident report but released a flier asking for the public’s help in tracking down the driver. Witnesses described the suspect vehicle as a gray or silver-colored minivan, or possibly a crossover-type SUV, the Highway Patrol reported. The extent of the damage is unknown.

The Windsor Hill Elementary School student was struck a little before 7 a.m. Wednesday at Windsor Hill Boulevard and Aspen Woods Lane in Dorchester County.

The auto-pedestrian incident is one of at least three this week in the area, one of them fatal.

Is the tri-county area more dangerous for pedestrians than other South Carolina regions? Charleston County is, in particular, according to Department of Public Safety statistics.

Drivers hitting area walkers and joggers is all too common in Charleston County.

In 2013, 93 pedestrians reported being injured in county wrecks — more than any other county in the state, according to DPS. The number fell short of the 128 injuries reported in 2012.

Charleston far surpassed Berkeley and Dorchester counties in 2013, with 22 pedestrian injuries reported in both counties.

Second to Charleston was Greenville County with 89 injuries. Both counties tied for most fatalities in South Carolina with 12 pedestrian deaths, DPS reports.

The Lowcountry’s most recent pedestrian fatality came Tuesday when a College of Charleston student died from her injuries.

Lindsey Ranz, 21, was struck by a pickup truck around 6:30 p.m. Monday as she tried to jog across the Septima P. Clark Parkway downtown.

She was rushed to Medical University Hospital where she later died.

On Thursday, a four-door Honda slammed into a 22-year-old Hollywood man as he tried to cross Folly Road at the Formosa Drive intersection around 7 a.m.

The injured man was transported to Medical University Hospital where he remained Thursday afternoon, police spokesman Charles Francis said.

According to a report, police faulted the pedestrian as contributing to the wreck.

Sgt. Matt Wojslawowicz of the Charleston Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit said that the high number of auto-pedestrian incidents likely can be linked to how urban the area is, with many people walking, running and cycling around vehicles.

The Charleston/North Charleston area is the most urban in the state.

But, he pointed out, that the responsibility for the Charleston incidents is not all on drivers.

Of the seven traffic fatalities since November 2012, three were auto-pedestrian, he said. “In none of the collisions was the driver of the vehicle found to be a contributing factor,” Wojslawowicz said.

“Impairment played a significant role in the first two,” he said, citing alcohol and drug use by the pedestrians.

The initial investigation into the most recent fatality showed that “inattention on the part of the pedestrian is the primary contributing factor in the collision.”

The jogger had earphones in at the time, he said.

The 6-year-old boy was reportedly doing well in the hospital Thursday, but details surrounding the case were few.

A S.C. Highway Patrol spokeswoman said the incident report would not be released until the department concluded its investigation.

Jay Bender, attorney for the S.C. Press Association, said the Department of Public Safety can’t withhold all reports related to the wreck, only information that would interfere with its investigation.

“DPS has been sued and lost on exactly that issue,” Bender said.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908.