Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Columbia police continue to investigate a hit-and-run collision that injured a moped driver over the weekend.
That is just the latest hit-and-run incident we've reported here in the Midlands.
"We've had a couple, especially over the last two weeks, consecutive hit-and-runs right in a row in the state," said Bob Beres, spokesperson for South Carolina Highway Patrol.
According to the Highway Patrol, there have been more than 900 hit-and-runs involving pedestrians in the state in the last five years. Of those accidents, 69 people were killed.
"Some are caused by distracted drivers. Maybe their license was suspended, maybe they were intoxicated," said Robert Uhall, Columbia Police Department Traffic Sgt. Uhall said whatever caused the collision, whether it's distracted driving or driving under the influence, the penalty is typically less severe than leaving the scene.
"Leaving the scene makes things so much worse. You may get away with the initial charge of a DUI, but if someone gets seriously injured or killed, you're in a much worse situation in charges," he said.
But in some hit-and-run cases, the driver may not be the one at fault. If a person crosses the street on a crosswalk, but the signal has a solid red hand, it is illegal to cross. If a person still decides to cross and they are hit by a vehicle, it's the pedestrian's fault.
But law enforcement says the driver of the vehicle should still stop and render aid.
"Every second for that person to get to the hospital could be the difference between life and death," said Beres.
Once a vehicle leaves the scene, without stopping to render aid, the charge could be enhanced.
- A hit-and-run that causes minor injuries is a misdemeanor and could land the suspect in jail between 30 days to up to a year. There is also a fine, ranging from $100-$5,000.
- A hit-and-run that results in significant bodily injuries is a felony and could land the suspect in jail between 30 days to up to 10 years. There is also a fine, ranging from $5,000-$10,000.
- A hit-and-run that results in death is a felony and could land the suspect in jail between one year to up to 25 years. There is also a fine, ranging from $10,000-$25,000.
- A hit-and-run, involving another vehicle with no injuries, is a misdemeanor and could land the suspect in jail for up to a year. There is also a $100-$500 fine.