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Charleston police arrest Citadel cadet in fatal DUI involving pedestrian

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Anthony Francis Troiani

Anthony Francis Troiani. Cannon Detention Center/Provided

Charleston police have arrested a 22-year-old Citadel cadet in a fatal late-night DUI crash.

Anthony Francis Troiani is charged with one count of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury or death, according to jail records. He was released Feb. 15, the day after the crash, on $75,000 bail, records show.

Officers were called at 10:22 p.m. Feb. 14 to the area in front of 685 King St., the address for the Recovery Room Tavern. 

Troiani was driving a silver Buick Lucerne north on King when he hit an adult pedestrian, who died at Medical University Hospital, police said. 

Authorities have not yet released the victim's name. 

Contacted by email, Chris DiMattia, the bar's owner said he is cooperating with the police investigation. 

DiMattia said he was not working at the bar at the time of the crash and was working to get more details from employees who were present. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim," he said.

The Charleston Police Department's Major Accident Investigation Team is handling the case, which is the third traffic death in the city so far in 2021, police said. 

Kim Keelor, a spokeswoman for The Citadel, confirmed that Troiani is a cadet. 

"The Citadel is saddened to learn of the collision on Sunday that resulted in the death of a person in our Charleston community," Keelor said. "We send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the person who perished in this unfortunate incident which is under investigation."

Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said impaired driving remains a significant problem across the nation, in South Carolina and in the city and said the King Street crash was "sad" and "tragic."  

Officers are continuing to address the DUI issue through enforcement efforts as well as working with the city's restaurant and hospitality industry on educational efforts, Reynolds said. 

The chief also emphasized the importance of personal responsibility and said motorists sometimes get away with driving drunk dozens of times before they are caught. 

"Certain people think they can get away with it," Reynolds said. "Maybe they do for a certain period of time, but it catches up. We do everything we can to avoid injuries and deaths. Many of our fatalities are alcohol-related."

When asked about the fatal crash, DiMattia said he understands there are many factors to consider, but he's been concerned about pedestrian safety on the section of King Street near his business for some time. 

The bar owner said he started asking the city to install a crosswalk more than two years ago. 

Since that time, more issues have come up, including burned-out bulbs on light poles under the Interstate 26 overpass near his business and construction that blocks a large section of sidewalk near King's intersection with Line Street, DiMattia said. 

But the city's power to take direct action on these issues is limited.

As a state road, any maintenance or infrastructure additions to King Street must be approved by the S.C. Department of Transportation. 

Pete Poore, a DOT spokesman, said he was not able to comment and other department employees were not reachable because of the Presidents Day holiday. 

The King Street corridor is among South Carolina's 10 deadliest for pedestrians and bicyclists, said Keith Benjamin, Charleston's director of traffic and transportation, citing DOT statistics. 

"We just think that safety of all (transportation) modes in the public right of way should be prioritized," Benjamin said. "As a city, we want to be standing as strong advocates to get that work done." 

Although the city may not be able to act unilaterally on King Street road projects, the traffic department director said he and his staff continue to find ways to work actively with state and county officials as well as city residents to make streets safer. 

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-323-9175. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

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