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A Column by the Editor
web posted June 20, 2007
COLUMN – Well, my vacation is over and to get back into the swing of things I had to respond to a wreck just fifteen minutes after returning home. To top it off, the wreck involved my son. I just want to be sure that everyone knows the wreck involved my son because of the things I will be saying in this column are not going to be well received by certain officials in the North Augusta Public Safety Department. When you read this you will understand why.
We had just returned from North Carolina from our vacation and I had to divert to Edgefield to stop by the Sheriff’s Office to pick up incident reports filed while I was out of town. My wife made it home before I did and left to go shopping for an outfit to wear to a meeting in Hilton Head on Wednesday. Being locked out, I instructed my son to meet my wife at the county line on Martintown Road to pick up a key. So far so go.
Then he was involved in a crash. Here is where it gets interesting.
According to all accounts of the parties involved, not my own, this is how the crash happened. A teenage girl driving a Corsica eastbound on Martintown Road was slowing to allow a car to turn left on to Gregory Lake Road. A second teen, from Richmond County, Ga. was looking for his cell phone (he said) and did not see the first teen stopping, slamming into the rear of her car. My son, the third vehicle, saw the crash happen but could not stop due to the sudden impact stop of the Hummer the second teen was driving. He hit the Hummer and drove it into the first car again.
That sounds simple enough, so let’s throw in the rest of the story.
The young lady driving the Corsica did not have a driver’s license. The teen driving the Hummer had a passenger with him and after the crash both got out and threw a cooler full of Bud Light and a couple Old Milwaukee beers from the Hummer (pictured below) into the creek at the scene. Keep in mind the driver of the Hummer and his passenger are both said to be minors in possession of alcohol by the evidence alone. There were opened and unopened beers recovered at the scene.
It gets better; the passenger of the Hummer, at times during the investigation said to be the driver, fled the scene and refused to return even after being contact by law enforcement. It seems, according to the North Augusta Public Safety Officer Willie Mays, the fleeing subject has his paperwork in to become a Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy. Richmond County residents should feel proud to know who is wanting to wear the uniform of the Sheriff's Office there.
So, we have a girl with no license driving a car she has no business driving, two underage teens with the better part of a case of beer tossed into the creek (some opened and empty) and one fleeing the scene, and guess who gets ticketed as being at fault?
Was it the driver that was not supposed to be driving? No.
Was it the teen who took his eyes off the road to grab his cell phone causing the wreck that also had open containers of beer plus being a minor in possession of alcohol? No.
His friend that fled the scene who nobody can confirm was the passenger and not the driver? No.
The only person charged in relation to the crash was the only person that was not breaking the law at the time, my son.
I just have to wonder why NAPD did not arrest the teen driving (or supposedly driving) the Hummer when he admitted to having open beer in his vehicle and his “friend” fleeing the scene. A minor in possession of alcohol is a mandatory suspension of driving privileges. But, no ticket was given to this youth. His mother, who drove up in her Lexus and tried to tell me I could not take pictures of her precious son’s Hummer, or the beer, was put in her place when she complained to the officer working the scene. She later said she was wrong for me accusing her son for having the beer, but said it was not his, it was his "friend's beer".
Isn't that special?
I will say that Office Mays said the matter of the underage drinking was not resolved, but said that the under aged “passenger” claimed ownership of the beer. That does not excuse any citations not being issued to the driver that allowed open alcohol in his vehicle and the attempted disposal of the evidence by the driver and his passenger if that is what happened.
I would go deeper into the case but there is no need. The rest wil come out in court.
Editor's note: For the record, I personally recovered (and photographed beforehand) a majority of the beers in the creekbed with Officer Mays although he made it a point to not allow some empty beer cans (all Bud Lights and cool to the touch) not to be added to the contents placed into the recovered cooler. Another beer can, also an opened Bud Light in a black cloth type "coozie" with goldish markings, was also refused to be allowed to be placed into evidence of the items recovered at the scene.
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