2005-05-02 / State News

State Briefs

Six killed in fiery crash

  • HARDEEVILLE — Six people died in a fiery wreck Saturday night after a pickup truck lost control on a rain-slick road in Jasper County and hit another car, authorities said.
  • The wreck happened around 10:30 p.m. as the Dodge pickup, driving too fast for conditions, rounded a curve on state Highway 170-Alternate near the Levy community, Highway Patrol spokesman Lance Cpl. Paul Brouthers said.

    The truck slid into the path of a Honda Accord heading westbound, and the front of the Honda struck the right rear of the pickup, Brouthers said.

    The Honda was engulfed in fire, while the underbody of the truck was completely knocked off. ‘‘It was a violent crash,’’ said Jasper County Coroner Martin Sauls

    The four people inside the Honda were killed. They were the driver, 22-year-old Shakeria Thomas and her 25-year-old husband, both of Hilton Head Island, along with 15-year-old Terrell Pinckney and 15-year-old Rhonda Webber, both of Ridgeland, Sauls said.

    They were all returning home from a wedding in Savannah, Ga., authorities said.

    Two passengers in the pickup truck, Brooke Ockovcin and Lauren Kerry, both 15, also died, Sauls said.

    The teens had been at a skating rink in Bluffton with two others, authorities said.

    The state Highway Patrol’s special accident reconstruction team is investigating the wreck and will decide if the driver of the pickup truck should face charges, Brouthers said.

    Saturday night’s wreck was the deadliest in South Carolina this year, Brouthers said.

    Migrant worker

    faces charges

    COLUMBIA — A migrant farm worker from Mexico could face two years in prison for performing an abortion on herself last year.

    Gabriela Flores, 22, of Pelion, faces charges of illegal abortion and failure to report the abortion to the coroner after using pills to end her pregnancy in her home.

    Police records show Flores took Cytotec pills on Oct. 1, and aborted the fetus the next morning. Flores told Lexington County Sheriff’s deputies she was four months pregnant at the time. She said she already had three children and couldn’t afford to take care of a fourth.

    Flores buried the fetus in a three-foot-grave behind her home with the help of another woman. Zenida Gonzalez-Gomez, 37, is charged with obstruction of justice and failure to notify the coroner.

    Records at the State Office of Court Administration show Flores’ is the only case pending against a woman for performing an abortion on herself. State court records show five cases of unlawful abortion from 2000 to 2004.

    Abortion is legal in South Carolina when performed by a licensed doctor.

    Off-duty trooper

    found dead

    CHARLESTON — An off-duty state trooper found dead in a parking lot died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Charleston County coroner’s office.

    Trooper Brian Hamm, 32, was found dead near his pickup truck early Saturday morning, authorities said.

    Hamm had eaten at a nearby restaurant in North Charleston in the hours before his body was discovered.

    Hamm had been with the Highway Patrol for five years, Public Safety Department spokesman Sid Gaulden said.

    The coroner’s office said Hamm was shot once in the head.

    Authorities said the case was still under investigation and would not release any more details about the shooting.

    (Associated Press)

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