Widow seeks emergency lane after husband's tragic death

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Most highways have special lanes on the sides of the actual road to be used by disabled drivers when faced with an emergency.

But a bridge named the "Great Pee Dee River Bridge" on Interstate 95 in Florence does not have an emergency lane.  Kady Morris' husband, James Coffey was hit and killed on the bridge in April 2012. Now Morris is pushing for changes to that bridge. Morris said her husband would likely still be alive today if such lanes were in place.

"I call the Pee Dee River the death bridge," Morris said.

Coffey was a tow truck driver and was assisting a disabled vehicle when he was hit by another oncoming vehicle.

"Knowing James he would high tail it to wherever you were at," Morris said.

Coffey was killed the day his son turned one month old.

"It's been hard on both of us. And my only hope is that even though James taint here, I'm still gonna bring it to his attention who his dad was and what he did trying to help somebody," Morris said.

Lance Corporal Sonny Collins with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said when motorists face a situation where they are stranded in an area without an emergency lane, they should leave the vehicle and find a place with room alongside the highway.

Morris said she hopes her husband's death will be a wake up call for officials to make an emergency lane on the Great Pee Dee River Bridge.

"For him to die that young wasn't right. James loved that job and I would like other families to have their loved ones come home," Morris said, "all I want though is an extension on the bridge or some more safety measures for our tow truck drivers."

South Carolina does enforce the Move Over law that states cars must move over into a different lane for all emergency vehicles, but also for highway workers like Coffey.

The Great Pee Dee River Bridge is about 0.6 miles long, so Morris said in her husband's case, there wasn't anywhere for cars to move over.

"It's kinda like the Bermuda Triangle; it's to the point where you're scared to drive it," Morris said.

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