The phone was ringing off the hook at the Solicitor's Office Thursday -- and many of those calls were about the deaths of two motorcyclists in Mount Pleasant last week.
And most of them weren't real happy with the surprising decision, earlier this week, not to bring criminal charges against the guy who hit them.
It's understandable that people would question -- even second-guess -- the police department's decision not to charge the driver of the SUV that plowed into those motorcycles. A lot of people think someone should pay when two people die.
But those calls are going to the wrong place. Scarlett Wilson isn't to blame for this.
The fact that there are legitimate, lingering questions a week after the accident is, in part, a problem with South Carolina law.
The 9th Circuit solicitor spent much of Thursday explaining to callers what happened, and what the law is. She came away glad to see so many people so passionate about the community, and the law. She gets it.
"This is a horrible thing," Wilson says. "I know how they feel. Members of my family are Harley riders."
A terrible accident
These are the facts: On May 11, James Doucette and James Hines were stopped at a traffic light on Highway 17 when an SUV driven by Charles McDonald hit them from behind. Both riders were killed.
On Tuesday, Mount Pleasant police ticketed McDonald for traveling too fast for conditions.
Here's how the system works: In South Carolina, law enforcement agencies investigate incidents and accidents, and decide whether to bring charges. In this state, prosecutors are not investigators. They don't go out and charge people.
Wilson was briefed on the case a few hours before Mount Pleasant police announced they would not bring criminal charges.
"If they had decided to move toward a criminal negligence or criminal recklessness case, I would have asked them what could they show factually," she says.
The police didn't have much. No proof the guy was on the cell phone at the time of impact, no evidence he was under the influence of anything. It was just a terrible accident.
Based on the evidence police showed to Wilson, she says she couldn't disagree with their decision not to press criminal charges.
No gray areas
Wilson has heard a lot of talk about making someone responsible. Legally, that's called "strict liability" and it makes a person liable for all losses caused by his acts, regardless of whether it's an accident.
She isn't so sure the state wants to go that far, but there are some things Wilson says we could do right now.
One, state law prohibits police from checking a person for DUI without reasonable suspicion.
No one thinks this driver was impaired, but cops are operating in a gray area. Not everything that impairs you smells or turns your eyes red, she says. If it was a law to check, there would never be a question. (Sounds like a job for some enterprising state lawmaker -- that means you, Chip Limehouse.)
Also, Wilson says there should be no debate about texting while driving -- it should be illegal.
The solicitor points out there is no evidence the driver in this accident was either on the phone or impaired.
But, thanks to South Carolina laws, cases like these only leave people guessing about what really happened. And that doesn't help anybody.