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A Callahan, Florida, man has filed a lawsuit in Orangeburg County accusing the S.C. Department of Transportation of negligence in an incident that claimed the life of his wife and two children in May 2018.

‘I told her I love her’; man lost family when vehicle hit alligator

In the May 7, crash, Amber Stanley, 24, struck an alligator on Interstate 95 near mile marker 86 near Holly Hill.

Amber Stanley lost control of her 2011 Kia Soul, traveled into the center median, and crashed into a tree. The vehicle caught fire.

Mother, children die in fiery crash after hitting alligator

The accident killed Joshua Stanley’s wife and their two children Jack, 4 and Autumn, 2.

On May 21, just over a year after the deadly incident, Joshua Stanley, through his attorneys, filed a lawsuit alleging that Kia Motors and SCDOT were negligent in preventing the incident.

Amber, Jack and Autumn were each properly secured in their seats when the incident occurred.

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In the lawsuit, attorneys claim that SCDOT had a duty to correct conditions along the right-of-way of I-95, including “fencing along the tree line parallel to the roadway designed to keep wildlife from encroaching upon and crossing the roadway.”

Dangerous times on the roads

It goes on to claim SCDOT also had a duty to remove trees to create a clear zone from the edge of interstate roadway into the median.

The lawsuit claims SCDOT failed to do the following:

  • Properly design, locate, install and maintain the fencing along the tree line parallel to the roadway designed to keep wildlife from encroaching upon and crossing the roadway.
  • Inspect the roadway for hazardous conditions such as wildlife, including alligators, on the roadway during mating season.
  • Remove trees in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes to create a traversable and unobstructed roadside area (clear zone) extending beyond the edge of the high-speed roadway.
  • Maintain the roadway and right of way

On June 28, SCDOT, through its attorney Michael Horger, filed a document asking that the court dismiss the state agency from the lawsuit.

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Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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