By Annie Rigby
Loris Police Department (LPD) Greg Lee, School Resource Officer (SRO) at the high school, was manning the roads while the schools are closed. Lee responded to a vehicle versus light pole at the corner of Main and Broad Street son Wednesday, March 25, at approximately 1:30 p.m.
The accident occurred with a minivan striking and taking down the light pole in front of Hardee’s. Loris Fire Department, Horry County Fire and Rescue and EMS responded to the scene. Santee Cooper was alerted and arrived within minutes to assess the damage.
Within a couple of hours the vehicles involved were towed away and the light pole was replaced. There were no injuries to the driver and passengers of the minivan.
When asked if they will request the video footage from the SCDOT cameras installed on the traffic signals at the intersection, Lee said he had received footage from the surrounding stores, Hardee’s and Money Savers. He stated if they needed additional footage they will request the video footage from SCDOT.
LPD Chief Gary Buley stated that the cameras record a 24-hour loop and will rerecord over the footage in the timeframe. Social media posts suggested that the cameras are license plate readers for the police department to catch speeders or to check for traffic violations. Both Buley and SCDOT state the cameras are used for traffic control. If the intersection of Broad and Main Streets is overwhelmed with vehicles the camera detects the number of cars waiting for the light to change, the light signal will then change. He stated that if there is a reason they would need footage from the cameras; the LPD can make a request for a copy of the footage. Buley also stated that the cameras will be helpful, but are not utilized by the LPD for traffic violations.
The new signal lights were installed and covered on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, with the plan to install traffic cameras. Cliff Reinoehl, supervisor with American Lighting and Signalization, was subcontracted by SCDOT. In October Reinoehl said, “The cameras will be installed and use the video detection to help with controlling the traffic.” He said that the cameras will signal the “box” (the main switch) that a vehicle is approaching the intersection or a vehicle is waiting for the light to change to green which then the light will change allowing the vehicle(s) to flow through the intersection with the new video detection system to help control with long delays sitting to wait for the light to change.
Many signals have a loop switch in the road to notify the main switch to change. Reinoehl said, “Many times the technology of the loop switch is unable to detect a vehicle approaching or sitting at the red light, especially here at this intersection where there is so much cement.” He said, “You have seen people come to a red light and sit without the signal changing unless a vehicle approaches to trigger the light to change.” He continued, “Drivers learned to back up their vehicles and approach the signal again and the light will change, drivers don’t have to do that here.” Reinoehl stated this is new technology, and if first responders need to use the video footage it will be available to them upon request.”