SCDOT will not install guardrails near Lowcountry cemetery

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:03 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - After a Lowcountry cemetery was damaged in a car crash, the family of those buried there asked the South Carolina Department of Transportation to install guard rails.

SCDOT responded and the family says it’s not exactly what they wanted to hear.

“This is home. This is home for all of their descendants,” said Mike Benton.

The Benton family has used the Indian Hill Baptist Church cemetery for over a century. The family reached out to the governor, their local senators, and SCDOT asking for help a few weeks ago when a car crashed and destroyed several graves. They asked DOT to install a guard rail to protect their family’s graves.

SCDOT says according to their surveys, they own the right of way and they do not plan on installing a guard rail. They say the headstones are not considered fixed objects because they are not rigidly mounted to slabs. They go on to say they believe installing a guard rail would cause a bigger safety concern for drivers and cyclists.

Benton, whose parents’ graves were destroyed in the car crash, says the family understands public safety, and they were just hoping if they could get guard rails to be installed maybe they could protect other people’s family cemeteries in the future. They say if SCDOT is not going to install the guard rails, they ask drivers to be a little extra careful whenever they pass smaller cemeteries.

“It’s where they are buried. You know, and I would like for them to be careful when passing by the cemetery. Used to caution, you know, because it’s just a sacred place,” Benton said.

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