Preteen Riding in Back Seat Dies in Single-Vehicle Crash in Lexington County
On the evening of June 2, 2020, a 1999 Honda Passport ran off the left side of Bub Shumpert Road in Lexington County, near the intersection of Hartley Quarter Road. The SUV collided with a tree and flipped over. The driver and the front seat passenger, who were wearing seatbelts, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a hospital. The back-seat passenger, 12-year-old Stacy Bagwell, was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. As of June 3, no criminal charges have been filed in connection with this accident. Even if the driver does not face criminal charges, the front seat passenger may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the driver, with the help of a South Carolina car accident lawyer.
Fatal Car Accidents in South Carolina
The circumstances of Stacy Bagwell’s death are tragic but not surprising. The year 2020 is not even halfway over, and 345 people have died in car accidents in South Carolina. This is a slight decrease from 2019, when there had been 420 traffic fatalities by early June. It sounds like a cliché, but seatbelts really do save lives. 133 of the fatal car accident victims in 2020 were not wearing seatbelts, although it appears that most of them had access to seatbelts.
The Legal Issues
An investigation into this accident is ongoing. The driver could face criminal charges if the investigators discover that any of the following statements apply to the accident:
- The driver drove off the road on purpose
- The car was traveling much faster than the speed limit
- The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash
If these are true, the driver could face charges for DUI, reckless driving, or vehicular homicide. The fact that the victim was a minor could lead to additional charges; for example, charges of child endangerment can result if an adult transports a child in a car without ensuring that the child is wearing a seatbelt or, in the case of young children, sitting in an age-appropriate safety seat. When an injured person files a car accident lawsuit, documents related to the defendant’s criminal case can be used as evidence to support the injured person’s claims, even if the defendant is found not guilty in the criminal case. The standard of evidence for convicting a defendant in criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” whereas it is lower for awarding damages to a plaintiff in civil cases.
News reports about the accident did not say anything about the relationship between Stacy, the driver, and the front-seat passenger. If they are all members of the same family, it is unlikely that any civil lawsuits for personal injury or wrongful death will result.
Let Us Help You Today
If you were injured when you were a passenger in a single-vehicle crash, a Columbia car accident lawyer might be able to help you recover damages. Contact The Stanley Law Group for help.