Family looking for help after car crash destroys family gravesites Hwy 278

ByKristen Rary|May 25, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT - Updated May 25 at 6:49 PM

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - One family in the Lowcountry is looking for help after a car accident destroyed several family plots in a local graveyard.

The cemetery sits right near Highway 278 and Fording Island Road in Bluffton.

“It’s totally demolished,” said Mike Benton who’s family plot was destroyed.

The Indian Hill Baptist Church Cemetery where the Benton family is buried has been a Beaufort staple for over a century.

“It’s been in our family for generations. This is where all of my relatives are buried.”

He says, few weeks ago, a car crash wiped out chunks of the cemetery.

“Apparently someone ran off the road back here and ended up somehow going in between my other relatives here and impacting the head stone.”

Causing massive damage to multiple graves.

“The actual vehicle dug into the grave.”

He thinks the cause is road changes. The plot sits along Highway 278. What used to be a two-lane highway. In 2013 the road was expanded to six lanes. Now, the farthest graves sit just feet from the roadway.

“It’s very upsetting to the family that since the widening of 278, no barrier is being put in place between the roadway and the gravesites.”

Standing in the cemetery the family says it’s hard for them to even have funerals now. They say now they’re reaching out to state officials, trying to find a solution.

“We want the state to come in and put it in a barricade of some sort to keep this from happening again.”

The family has reached out to the Department of Transportation, asking for the cemetery to be evaluated and see if a barricade can be put in.

“That would prevent the amount of damage that was done to the cemetery yet from probably happening again.”

They hope they can save the rest of the cemetery from the same fate.

“We need help. We need a guard rail or something put up. That will help protect our loved ones in their final resting place.”

WTOC reached out to the Department of Transportation but did not get a response. The family says they believe someone from the DOT will be coming to view the cemetery in the next week.

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Photo: WTOC

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