CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — People in West Ashley are growing frustrated with trash and litter piling up on the side of Bees Ferry Road. While some of it may be coming from vehicles headed to the landfill, neighbors tell News 2 there is more to the problem.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is responsible for maintaining Bees Ferry Road, and a spokesperson told News 2 in August they would be sending crews to clean up the road.

However, neighbors said the trash problem is only getting worse.

“Charleston is beautiful, all the trees, all the nature — I worry about the animals, also the children in the area,” said Tawnia, who lives near Bees Ferry Road.

Tawnia said she spots piles of trash on the side of the road every day on her commute.

“I would take my son to school so I would see the piles,” Tawnia said. “And then Bees Ferry — the major trash pile — probably I would say five months ago is when I first noticed in the water.”

Tawnia said she began talking to her neighbors online about the issue, and learned there may be a suspect behind the trash problem.

“Found out he’s been a problem for at least 20 years is what one lady said on the post,” she said. 

On Sept. 16, the person neighbors told News 2 was responsible for the trash, William Whitfield, was arrested for allegedly stuffing debris inside storm drains in the area of Bees Ferry Road and Sanders Road. The arrest report said the officer knew Whitfield was the likely offender before arriving on the scene because of previous incidents of the same nature.

The report describes Whitfield as a “vagrant who lives in wooded areas along Bees Ferry Road.”

According to records, he was released from jail on Sept. 17, one day after he was arrested.

On August 23, he was arrested for dumping litter on private or public property. Jail records show Whitfield was released on Sept. 12, just four days before his next arrest.

“It’s just concerning that this guy keeps getting away with this,” Tawnia said.

She said neighbors are frustrated with the cycle, and trash constantly piled up along the road.

In August, an SCDOT spokesperson told News 2 they would be taking care of the trash in the coming weeks. But Tawnia said the problem has never gone away.

“They’ve picked up a little bit but it keeps returning in different places,” she said.

News 2 followed up with the SCDOT this week, and they are noticing the same trends neighbors have been experiencing. In a statement, a spokesperson said, “Our crews have noted some additional trash accumulations since we previously cleaned at the site.”

The Dept. of Transportation spokesperson said they sent a crew out to the road when News 2 originally contacted them in August, and they plan to this week as well.

Residents, like Tawnia, said they hope something can be done to solve the problem long-term.

“It is a big concern, and it just makes our area look trashy and it doesn’t need to be,” she said.

Whitfield is scheduled to appear in court in December for the charges of obstructing the storm drains.

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