At the start in their usual 5 a.M. Tuesday/Thursday institution run in cold December, the Running Wild crew commenced their regular trek throughout Augusta Highway close to Lexington High School. Some ran beforehand after the light became purple, but others paused to select the right playlist tune before shifting forward.
Group chief Dianne Wells, 36, commenced walking thru the crosswalk because the countdown clock ticked down the seconds. A shipping truck driving force, who often drove the direction Tuesday and Thursday mornings, changed into developing at the intersection like he typically did. However, on December 18, he ran the red light, hitting Wells without slowing down or honking. Surveillance cameras from the excessive local faculty taped the women screaming because the tragedy unfolded.
Wells died on the scene.
The motive force later informed police that the light’s concept was inexperienced and that he didn’t see her crossing the street, even though she began carrying reflective garb and lighting. He becomes ticketed for jogging a purple light—a 4-point offense and $237 quality—but now not for hitting Wells. In January, the South Carolina Highway Patrol’s Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team listed both the motive force and Wells at fault, pronouncing she “didn’t have the proper of the way when she entered the crosswalk,” for the reason that countdown clock became on.
Now, her husband and a local attorney who is dealing with the own family’s estate are preventing lower back with a wrongful death lawsuit, now not best to guide the family and preserve the truck driver’s organization answerable for the accident, but additionally to raise cognizance public approximately pedestrian safety. Filed at the quit of February, the lawsuit is still inside the new degrees and could take months to move forward. Court files say the driver “did not hold a proper lookout” and “drove too speedy for conditions.”
“Dianne’s lifestyles had an impact, and our wish is that her demise will have a comparable effect,” said Jason Reynolds, a legal professional for the firm behind the submitting, Samuels Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina. The case has unique that means for Reynolds, who hails from a circle of relatives of runners and is a member of F3, a countrywide community of unfastened, peer-led workouts for men. Wells became a member of F3’s sister organization,
Females in Action (FYA).
“If we will help Dianne’s circle of relatives and store even one runner’s life, we’ve finished our job,” he said, hoping that publicity about the case will construct criminal priority for runners’ rights in intersections, as well as a spark off walking businesses across us of a to make safety plans round runs that involve crosswalks.
Wells first joined the FIA going for walks organization Sunrise Scramblers, five a.M. Tuesday/Thursday institution runs on the Books-a-Million in Lexington. During her first meetup, she did what all new group members do: She introduced herself and gave an exciting reality about herself. The relaxation of the institution then proposed a nickname for his or her most modern member. Wells talked about her career inside the finance enterprise as a controller, and thus, her moniker become born: From then on in the group, she changed into affectionately known as “Digits.”
As the Sunrise Scramblers grew to more than 30 participants, Wells and fellow runner Betsy Bridger—called Iron Maiden for doing an Ironman triathlon in 2015—decided to interrupt off and create a brand new, more manageably-sized organization. They decided to guide it from Lexington High School, home of the Wildcats. It becomes that mascot—and the truth that maximum institution contributors were moms who have always been “running in 1,000,000 one of a kind instructions,” Bridger said—that helped them give you a name for his or her new group — running Wild match them flawlessly.
Wells and Bridger led the institution on early morning runs, where Wells quickly became acknowledged for encouraging all and sundry, irrespective of wherein they were on their walking journey. “‘A mile is still a mile,’ she would say, and she or he made positive people celebrated their accomplishments,” Bridger said, calling Wells a “selfless encourager” who often labored behind the curtain to reinforce others.
In reality, she regularly gave group individuals playing cards and notes of encouragement after they traveled to run marathons or halves collectively. Since the accident in December, women within the group have shared the notes amongst themselves to assist hold her memory alive. Several “Digitisms,” because the Running Wild ladies referred to like them, had been not unusual: “I’m stupidly proud of you,” “I love you large,” and “I love you extra than nachos, and that’s lots.
Her electricity, friendliness, and humor had been apparent, even online. At their final huge run collectively at Rock ’N’ Roll Savannah in November 2018, Bridger surpassed over her telephone to Wells to have her take an image of Bridger along with her husband. When searching through them after, Bridger observed the ones she changed into awaiting—plus one marvel addition: a selfie that Wells took when performing as the photographer. Bridger published them on Facebook, and in real Digits fashion, Wells answered, “For the file, in case you ever hand me your smartphone to take a p.C, you’re gonna get this sort of gemstones.”