Easter weekend meets Spring Break safety

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -Easter weekend and both Horry and Georgetown County Schools Spring Break came at the same time. South Carolina Highway Patrol says this is a high traffic weekend. They say they will have a heavy police presence on all beach routes. The North Myrtle Beach Police Department and the CAST Coalition are also prepared for this weekend.

Friday was the start of the weekend traffic and people staying in the area for the week noticed the difference. Tina Smith and her family have been in Myrtle Beach all week but say today was different.

"We've seen several police officers that seem to be in a hurry to get to an accident and we've seen several accidents," says Smith.

Sergeant Jeff Benton from the Horry County Sheriff's Office says with this weekend's conditions, the rainy weather, holiday weekend, and more underage kids in the area because of spring break, the roads might be extra dangerous. He also says one accident can breed many. Benton says onlooker accidents happen often, and Smith said she's witnessed a few.

"It's almost like someone else is going to have an accident because they're looking and trying to get out of the way and wanting to see what happened instead of paying attention to the road," Smith says.

The Chief of North Myrtle Beach Police says there were 8 DUIs, 7 minor in possession of alcohol arrests and one drinking in public arrest. He says because of these numbers, they will not only have their usual patrols this weekend but they will also have their alcohol enforcement team out.

Local bar owner Mark Gifford says he is also prepared for the Easter Weekend. He owns the bar Atlas. Atlas has been open for about a month now so this is their first big rush.  Gifford says he and his staff are ready to identify fake IDs.

"We look for anything that looks like its cut and paste or done outside of the norms of any standard state agency - you can usually pick out just by the feel the look and the presence of the identification card," Gifford says.

South Carolina Highway Patrol listed a handful of accidents every hour Friday and they say they will have extra troops out to make sure the highways stay safe.

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