February 01, 2018

A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the companies involved in the manufacture and installation of a guardrail system in connection with a crash last April that killed his wife.

The lawsuit says Ronald Blankenship was driving his GMC Yukon west on I-26 near Union Highway and Bethany Church Road on April 29 when the vehicle left the roadway and hit the X-LITE guardrail end-terminal on the shoulder of the highway.

The lawsuit claims the guardrail failed to perform properly, and instead of telescoping on impact and stopping the W-beam, it allowed the W-beam to pierce the SUV’s frame. The lawsuit says the beam slammed all the way through the SUV and into the backseat, mutilating and killing Charlotte Blankenship, who was in the front passenger seat.

"It's like a sword coming through the vehicle," said Leslie Kroeger, a lead attorney representing the Blankenship family. "It literally is cutting into people. It is cutting off body parts. It is cutting people in half. It's a tragedy."

The suit is seeking damages for the loss of her life, and the “mental and physical anguish of Ronald Blankenship, including pain and suffering from witnessing his wife of 49 years being mutilated and killed in his presence.”

The full article can be accessed here.