CORONER'S INQUISITION, 1967-1980
Book 6
NEWBERRY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
Transcribed and contributed by Edith Greisser

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and State aforesaid, the 23rd day of February A.D., one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight before Leroy Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of Annette Dale Oliver Reid then and there being dead by the oaths of James R. Kelly, Lin Slaton, Eugene Mathis, Jerry R. Kneece, William D. Waldrop, Jimmy Phibbs being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the State of South Carolina where and by what means the said Annette Dale Oliver Reid came to her death, upon their oaths, do say Annette Dale Oliver Reid came to her death in an automobile accident, and that Henry Archie Counts be held for Grand Jury investigation. And so the said jurors aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Annette Dale Oliver Reid came to her death in the manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I LEROY WILSON, Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.                                   /s/ D. Leroy Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

                                                                                          /s/ James R. Kelly, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ William D. Waldrop (L.S.)

/s/ Jimmy Phibbs (L.S.)                                                                 /s/ Eugene Mathis (L.S.)

/s/ Lin Slaton (L.S.)                                                             /s/ Jerry R. Kneece (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

SHEILA WILSON LOMINICK MCKEE, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Your name is Annette Dale Oliver Reid?

A.    No sir

Q.    M'am?

A.    No sir

Q.    Oh excuse me, my mistake. Sheila Wilson Lominick McKee?

A.    Right                                                           

Q.    Where do you live, Mrs. McKee?

A.    Route 1, Whitmire

Q.    Did you know Mrs. Annette Dale Oliver Reid?

A.    Yes, I did.

Q.    Were you behind her car when it had an accident?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Tell these gentlemen of the jury just what you know about it.

A.    Well, I was traveling behind her. We were going back over to the trailer court, which we were both staying in at the time. We were going up this little hill, and this car come over the top of the hill in the middle of the road, and it hit her, and it turned her around and threw her back into me. We both ended up in a ditch on the side of the road.

Q.    How far was she in front of you when the accident happened?

A.    Iím not very good at judging distance, but I know at least two to three car lengths ahead of me.

Q.    What speed were y'all traveling, you and Mrs. Reid's car?

A.    Approximately about 35, Iíd say around 35 miles an hour.

Q.    And y'all met a car?

A.    Right, she was ahead of me, and she met the car first.

Q.    And she collided with the car that she was meeting?

A.    Right

Q.    Then it in turn, both of them hit you?

A.    No sir r, she hit­

Q.    Or just one of them?

A.    She hit me. If the other car hit me, I, I, it just happened so fast that you know it just completely turned her around in the road and threw her back into me.

Q.    Were you visiting or staying with Mrs. Reid?                      ­

A.    Yes, I had been staying with her several weeks.

Q.    Staying at a trailer park, wasn't you?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Gateway Trailer Park at Pomaria?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Did both of you work at the same place?

A.    No sir, I wasn't working at the time, and she was working out at Parr Shoals, V. C. Summer. ­

Q.    You said, would you tell us whether she or you, or both of you were drinking or not?

A.    I was not drinking. I hadn't had anything to drink.

Q.    Was Mrs. Reid?

A.    At the time of the accident?

Q.    Yes 'm

A.    If she was, I didn't know it at that time.

Q.    Did you see her take a drink that afternoon?

A.    Earlier, earlier in the day I had seen her take a drink.

Q.    What time did she get off from work?

A.    Well, she hadn't worked that day.

Q.    You say earlier in the day you saw her take a drink. What time of day?

A.    Around 3:00

Q.    You saw her take one drink?

A.    I --- I didn't say, I meant, I didn't mean exactly one drink. I seen her, she drank two beers to my knowledge that day that I know of.

Q.    Now, was she driving correctly when you was behind her, or was she weaving over the road?

A.    No sir, she was in her lane of the road.

Q.    Was she close to the middle of it or over on the side?

A.    She was in her lane on her side of the road.                                                   

Q.    Say you were running about 35 or 40 miles an hour?

A.    Around 35

Q.    This happened at night or day?

A.    Well, it was around 6:30 in the evening.

Q.    Well, you couldn't tell how fast the car you was meeting was traveling, could you?

A.    No sir, I couldn't judge that.

Q.    You didn't get hurt bad in the wreck, did you?

A.    Not so­

Q.    You yourself?

A.    No sir

Q.    Any of the jury want to ask this witness any questions?

JUROR: Was it dark or just getting dark?

A.    Just getting dark. We had our headlights on, but it wasn't you know dark.

JUROR: Was it on a secondary road or the main road?

A.    Secondary road

JUROR: What road is this?

A.    I don't know the number of it.

CORONER: It was close to Pomaria, wasn't it?

A.    Yes sir, it was on the same road that the Gateway Trailer Park is on. It was past the Gateway Trailer Park on further out in the country.

JUROR: Does the road have lines in it?

A.    No sir

CORONER: I believe that road is Secondary 33.

JUROR: You say the other car was in the middle of the road?

A.    Yes sir

CORONER: And you were just visiting with Mrs. Reid?

A.    Yes sir

CORONER: You had been down there you say a week or two weeks?

A.    Yes sir, a couple weeks. I had been staying down there.

Q.    You didn't work, but she did?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    And she works for Daniel Construction Company?

A.    Yes sir, see she had went down there and taken a welding test at V. C. Summer, and the day before the accident she had busted, well failed her test, and she had just picked up her last check right before the accident happened.

JUROR: Which one of these cars were you driving?

A.    The Oldsmobile

JUROR: Who was driving the Plymouth?

A.    I don't know his name.

JUROR: She was in the little foreign car?

A.    Opal

CORONER: Which direction were y'all headed?

A.    Towards Gateway Trailer Park

CORONER: That would be a westerly direction.

PATROLMAN: She was traveling south.

CORONER: Any more questions?

JUROR: How far is the trailer park off of the main road?

A.    About a mile or a mile and a half

CORONER: Was it raining that night?

A.    No sir

CORONER: Just dark?

A.    Just before dark

CORONER: But you could see good with your lights on, couldn't you?

A.    Oh it wasn't dark. It was just like I say around 6:30 in the evening. It was before dark, but we did have our lights on.

CORONER: Do you know whether the car that met Mrs. Reid had his lights on or not?

A.    No sir, I don't know.

JUROR: Where were y'all coming from? Where had y'all been?

A.    Down at Parr Shoals

JUROR: You followed her down there in your car?

A.    Yeh, see we picked up her car. It was there in the parking lot, and we picked it up, and I was following her back to the trailer park.

CORONER: Any further questions? (No questions) Do you remember what date this happened on?

A.    Yes sir, January 31st.

CORONER: That was on Tuesday, wasn't it?

A.    Yes sir

CORONER: That will be all, Mrs. McKee.                   (Witness Excused)

HENRY ARCHIE COUNTS, (Advised of his rights-being duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:)

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Do you want to testify or not? Do you want to tell what happened or not, it's left up to you.

A.    Can I wait til my attorney gets here?

Q.    There won't be another time.

A.    Tell the truth

Q.    Your name is Henry Archie Counts?

A.    Yes

Q.    You live down on, close to Pomaria?

A.    Yes

Q.    Secondary Road #33?

A.    Yes

Q.    Did you have an accident with a small Opal car on Tuesday, January 31, 1978 around 6:15 or 6:30?

A.    Yes, I had an accident.

Q.    Tell these people here what happened.

A.    I was going toward home.

Q.    Talk loud enough where they can hear you.

A.    I broke my jaw bone. I can't talk any louder. I have braces in my mouth. I was going toward home, that was south. Just as I went to go over the hill, a car was coming up the hill. It seemed like a wreck was already down there cause when I went to go over the hill, cars were on both sides of the road. I jammed on brakes when I seen the car lights coming. It turned me around and run into the car.

Q.    You mean there was a car in the front of you when you met these two cars?

A.    Some cars was on the side of the road. Seemed like it was already a wreck on the right side. I went to go over the hill and on the other side of the hill, cars were on both sides of the road. They were down at the bottom of the hill. So I jammed on my brakes. I didn't have anywhere to go. I couldn't go to the ditch cause cars were on the side of the road. It throwed my car around into the other car.

Q.    What threw your car around?

A.    I jammed on brakes, and my car turned around in the road.

Q.    How fast were you going?

A.    I wasn't going fast, probably 30, 35 cause I live right on­ - -

Q.    You say 80 or 35?

A.    I said probably 35.

Q.    35?

A.    I live right up the hill on the left side.

Q.    Was this a straight road where you had this accident?

A.    You have to go over a hill like.

Q.    You didn't see the lights from the oncoming cars?

A.    Yes, as I topped the hill to go down, that's when I seen the car coming, and I turned on brakes.

Q.    Had you been drinking when this accident happened?

A.    No sir

Q.    Hadn't had a drop?

A.    No sir, cause they took my blood test at the hospital.

Q.    You didn't have any beer or any liquor or no alcohol whatsoever?

A.    No sir

Q.    All day or that night, no time?

A.    No sir

Q.    No time during that day?

A.    No sir

Q.    Hadn't had a drop of anything?

A.    No sir

Q.    You right sure of it?

A.    No sir, I wasn't drinking.

Q.    You was not drinking?

A.    No sir

Q.    How old are you?

A.    31

Q.    What kind of car were you driving?

A.    That was a '66 Plymouth.

Q.    What, a '66?

A.    '66 Plymouth Belvedere

Q.    You say you were running about 35 or 40 miles per hour?

A.    Yes, cause I wasn't speeding.

Q.    You topped this hill?

A.    Yes

Q.    These two cars were meeting you?

A.    They were on the side of the road.

Q.    This car that you had an accident was parked?

A.    No sir

Q.    Well, you met 'em then, didn't you, and the one behind it­.

A.    I was meeting the car. I seen the headlights, I jammed on brakes cause I couldn't get on the side of the road. The car turned around in the road.

Q.    You said this car was parked on your side of the road too, didn't you?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    On your side. That would be your right side?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    You said this car was parked where you couldn't get by?

A.    Yes

Q.    You jammed on brakes?

A.    Yes

Q.    You had not been drinking all day long?

A.    No. The little car hit the other car and went off the side of the road.

Q.    What side of the road were you on when you hit this small car that you wrecked with?

A.    I was on the left side.

Q.    You was on the left of the middle of the road?

A.    See my car had turned around and the car hit the fender on the right side. It hit the right side of my car cause my car had turned around in the road.

Q.    You were on your side, or you had done slid over in her lane?

A.    When the car turned around, it was toward the other side of the road.

Q.    You had got in her lane of the road when the wreck happened?

A.    I was, well after I hit the car, I was on the other side.

Q.    After you hit the car, you was on the other side. Where were you before you hit it?

A.    I was on my side. See when I put on brakes, the car turned around in the road. See when the wreck was over, my car was sitting on the other side, on the left side heading back toward Pomaria.

Q.    Well, what happened to your car after you wrecked? Did anything bad happen to it, un­usually?

A.    See I couldn't get out of the car. The undertaker, I mean the ambulance come, and he put me on the stretcher and brung me to the hospital.

Q.    Did you just bend your car, or did you knock part of it off?

A.    I didn't look at my car. They put me on the stretcher and put me in the ambulance. They brung me straight on to the hospital.

Q.    Any questions from the jury?

JUROR: What was his blood analysis?

CORONER: We'll get to that in a minute, sir.

JUROR: You say when you went over the hill, you could see lights?

A.    I seen 1ights­

JUROR: Rear lights or headlights?

A.    From brakes

JUROR: These cars that were sitting on the side of the road?

A.    When I went over the hill, cars were sitting on both sides of the road.

JUROR: Yeh, but what could you see, red lights or white lights?

A.    What, the car I was meeting?

JUROR: No, the ones parked on the side of the road.

A.    They didn't have any lights on.

JUROR: You saw brake lights then.

A.    No, see when I came up, I seen headlights. I jammed on brakes, and then my car turned around in the road.

JUROR: These cars were stopped. They had their headlights on?

A.    No, they didn't have any headlights on.

JUROR: Well, what kind of lights did you see to make you slam on brakes?

A.    The car, one of 'em was coming toward me.

JUROR: You said that you thought it was already a wreck?

A.    Yes, cause when I went to top the hill, the cars were on both sides of the road, couldn't be nothing but a footpath in the middle. So when I seen car lights, I jammed on brakes.

JUROR: Could you, in other words, it happened just like that I know?

A.    It looked like this car had already wrecked on the right side of the road.

JUROR: On the right side, and this car was pulled up beside this other car?

A.    No sir

JUROR: In your lane?

A.    See this car was coming straight up in the middle of the road when I went to top the hill.

JUROR: It was coming­ - -

A.    Car was coming toward me, and when I turned on the brake, my car turned around.

JUROR: The other car turned around?

A.    My car turned around. When everything was over, it done hit.

JUROR: Why did you hit your brakes because you saw the car on the right or the other car?

A.    I saw the headlights. When I come over the hill, I seen the two cars coming toward me.

JUROR: You saw the lights, or the lights weren't on?

A.    Them cars pulled, they wasn't on. I saw the headlights of the car, the car coming toward me so I didn't have nowhere to go so I jammed on brakes. I could have went to the ditch if the car wouldn't been in the way. I wouldn't have hit the car.

JUROR: How big a hill is it?

A.    Like a secondary road.

JUROR: You couldn't see the headlights coming over that hill?

A.    No

JUROR: You didn't see no headlights?

A.    No, cause I went to go over, that's when I saw the headlights coming toward me.

JUROR: You have a radio in your car?

A.    Do I have a radio?

JUROR: A C. B. radio

A.    No sir, I just have an aerial, I don't have no C. B. in it.

JUROR: How fast were you running?

A.    I was running about 35 cause I live right up the hill. I wasn't speeding.

JUROR: You live right close to the wreck then?

A.    Yes sir, that's right.

JUROR: Where were you going?

A.    I was going home.

JUROR: I thought you lived on the other side?

A.    Yes

JUROR: Where were you going when you left home?

A.    I was going home. See I live on this side. I was going toward home.

JUROR: Where had you been?

A.    I was coming from toward Pomaria.

JUROR: Where had you been before you had the wreck?

A.    I was coming from toward Pomaria.

JUROR: Where were you at in Pomaria?

A.    I had been, I had left from a house, you know where Pomaria Ball Park, a house right up there on the left side, a little house right up on the side of the road.

JUROR: Did you stop at Pomaria?

A.    Huh-uh, I left that house, left that house, and I was going to my house.

JUROR: Is that the road you wrecked on? The road going by Pomaria Ball Park.

A.    That's right.

JUROR: I know where you're talking about now.

JUROR: You hadn't had anything to drink?

A.    No sir, I wasn't drinking.

CORONER: Were you carried to the hospital for treatment, for injuries?

A.    Yes sir, the doctor told me I just had a broke bone, then I had to go to Columbia, I mean a broke jaw. He put two stitches in it. Then they released me. I went back home, and I bled all night. Next morning I went to Richland Memorial, and they said I had a broke bone. They put braces.

CORONER: You were brought to Newberry County Memorial Hospital first?

A.    Yes

CORONER: By ambulance?

A.    Yes, what they have at the hospital.

CORONER: That's an ambulance.

CORONER: You hadn't been drinking. You weren't running but 35 miles an hour. You saw lights coming up the hill, and there were some cars parked on your side of the road with no lights. You slammed on your brakes, and when you did you went into the front of this oncoming car, the one you was meeting, is that right?

A.    Yes sir, cause it was so quick.

JUROR: How far did you slide?

A.    I really don't know.

CORONER: You have a driver's license, don't you?

A.    Yes sir

CORONER: Has it ever been suspended?

A.    Yes

CORONER: Did they ever take it from you, the Highway Department?

A.    Yes, they have took my license.

CORONER: For what?

A.    For driving under the influence

CORONER: But you weren't driving that night the wreck happened?

A.    No sir

CORONER: Any further questions? (No questions) That's all, thank you.   (Witness Excused)

L. N. BROCK, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    State your name, address, and occupation.

A.    Iím Patrolman L. N. Brock with the South Carolina Highway Patrol stationed here in Newberry County.

Q.    Mr. Brock, did you receive a call concerning this wreck on Tuesday, January 31st?

A.    Yes sir, I did. On January 31st of this year here in Newberry County at approximately 6:30, I received a call from
        our radio dispatcher in Greenwood that there was an accident on Secondary S-36-33, which is the Ball Park Road by Pomaria. When I arrived at the scene, I found three vehicles, a 1966 Plymouth which I later found out was being driven by Mr. Counts, a 1967 Opal which was being driven by the deceased, Mrs. Reid, and a 1968 Oldsmobile driven by Mrs. McKee. Mrs. McKee, correction Mrs. Reid, was pinned in her vehicle, and I assisted Mrs. McKee and Mr. Counts by medical attention. The ambulance service arrived shortly after I did at the scene. At this time, I'll draw a diagram here on the board. Okay, this is vehicle #1, which was driven by Mr. Counts, which was traveling north on Secondary 33. This is vehicle #2, which was driven by Mrs. Reid, and vehicle #3, which was being driven by Mrs. McKee. They were headed south on 33. As far as we could determine from the investigation, point of impact occurred approximately two feet to the left of the center of the road. The road is seventeen feet wide, secondary road. After point of impact, vehicle driven by Mrs. Reid spun around headed back north into vehicle #3, which was driven by Mrs. McKee and vehicle #1 driven by Mr. Counts past the scene where these two cars come to rest, and it broke into two parts. JUROR: How far were the vehicles 2 and 3 ended up from the point of impact approximately?

A.    37 feet

JUROR: And how far the vehicle #1?

A.    55

JUROR: 55?

JUROR: Were there any skid marks?

A.    The only evasive action that could be determined in the accident was by vehicle #3 where it had run off the road apparently trying to avoid collision with the other two vehicles, or back up here, the only thing was oil spills from the cars. As far as skid marks there was not any that could be matched up with vehicle #1 or vehicle #2.

JUROR: You say that number, vehicle, the point of impact was two feet Ė

A.    Left of the center

JUROR: Left of that side of vehicle #2 and #3?

A.    Their side of the road

JUROR: That was head on not sideways?

A.    No, it was head on, hit center to center.

JUROR: No skid marks?

A.    None that could be matched up with this accident.

        JUROR: Have you determined any estimate of speed of either vehicle? Is there anything to go by, I mean to determine?

A.    Like I said, there was not any skid marks to determine to just - there was no evasive action just an impact.

JUROR: On the other side of the hill or top of the hill?

A.    This side. The direction Mr. Counts was coming headed north is a long straight stretch, and this hill that vehicles #2 and 3 driven by Mrs. Reid and Mrs. McKee comes under a hillcrest which the visibility is nearly zero til you get to the top of it here. You come up a long stretch, and these cars were coming out of this flat.

JUROR: It happened on top of the hill, didn't it?

A.    At the hillcrest

JUROR: Vehicle #1 never had got over the hill?

A.    Right, it happened at the top of the hillcrest.

JUROR: From your investigation, you never learned of any other vehicles being broken down?

A.    Had any reports of no other accidents, in fact the only one I had was on this particular one.

JUROR: No witnesses, except­ - -

A.    None

JUROR: The way it looked to you sir, and from what he said, #2 and #3, #2 car could not have been beside #3, and he hit her then?

A.    No

JUROR: You follow what - I think that's what he was trying to say.

A.    No sir

JUROR: #3 run off on the right hand side of the road trying to miss -

A.    Apparently trying to avoid the collision. It just happened just like that (snaps fingers) and she, the only one that did try to, she hit her brakes in other words. Thatís the only one.

JUROR: How far you reckon she slid?

A.    A very short distance, of course just running off the road, you wouldn1t be able to slide a great distance.

JUROR: And #3ís car hit #2ís car head on, I mean when the car spun around, right?

A.    Right, correct. #2 vehicle after it hit the #1 vehicle, it spun around, and there was not any marks indicated in the road, but that's the way it wound up, back in the direction it came from.

CORONER: Mr. Brock, will you tell them how that Plymouth was after the wreck. Was it still in one piece or two pieces?

A.    Two pieces. It was separated right where the firewall­ - -

CORONER: The whole front end off, like you would take an ax.

A.    Motor in the front end in one part and the rest of the body in another part right even with the firewall frame.

JUROR: Didn't break the frame?

A.    Yes sir, frame separated.

CORONER: It cleared it to the ground.

JUROR: I believe you said that blood analysis was run on Mr. Counts. Was there one run on the deceased too?     

A.    The Coroner here ordered blood alcohol on all three of the persons involved in the accident. Here for the record, I have the results from S.L.E.D. where the blood samples were taken. On Mr. Henry Archie Counts, the blood alcohol found was .315%. On Sheila Lominick McKee, there was no blood alcohol found, and that is negative on her. And on Annette Oliver Reid, blood alcohol found was .219%.

JUROR: What was Mr. Counts?

A.    0.315

JUROR: What's the, what does that tell us?

A.    Okay

JUROR: Under or not under the influence?

A.    Under the influence

JUROR:  .10 is - -­

A.    .10 is considered.

JUROR: His was .31?

A.    .315

JUROR: In other words, Mr. Counts, and the deceased were actually driving under the influence?

CORONER: Show 'em how this is read, Mr. Brock. (Example of Breathalyzer card)

A.    Okay. You might pass this card. This is the legal limit in the State of South Carolina, .10. Mr. Counts was .315.

CORONER: Any further questions for the witness? (No questions) That's all, Mr. Brock, thank you.

Sergeant Inman with the Highway Patrol was there also. He may can tell you more than Mr. Brock did, I don't know, but they were there together. If you would like to hear from him, let him tell you, but it will be the same thing.

JUROR: If he can't add anything, I don't see any point.

A.    No sir

CORONER: Annette Dale Brown Oliver Reid, female, 34 years old, white-cause of death:

severed cervical spinal cord, fracture of the neck. They told me that means a broken neck.

It was signed by Dr. E. J. Dickert, Newberry, South Carolina.

CORONER: Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen, you received your charge at the beginning of this inquest. You have heard the testimony concerning this matter. Insert in your verdict the name of the party killed, the instrument with which killed and by whose hands she met death. If you find from this testimony that some party or parties other than the deceased was responsible for her death, you will recommend in your verdict that such party or parties be held for Grand Jury investigation.

CORONER: That's all the evidence we have on it. We didn't have any eye witnesses except the two survivors. You saw the pictures of all the cars involved. This gentlemen over here, I forgot hi s name, he represents Mrs. Reid. He's a 1awyer from Greer. He had the pictures of the Opal. That's who owns those pictures. Those others are mine. (Whereupon, the jury retired, and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors:)

"Annette O1iver Reid came to her death in an automobile accident, and that Henry Archie Counts be held for Grand Jury investigation."

 (At approximately 8:15 p.m., the inquest was concluded.)

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and State afore­said, the 1st day of June A.D., one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight before Leroy Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of Crystal Lane Black then and there being dead by the oaths of B. W. Epting, Carroll B. Garner, Claude Amick, Donnie Amick, Harold Kinard, Steve Shealy being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the State of South Carolina where and by what means the said Crystal Lane Black came to her death, upon their oaths, do say Crystal Lane Black came to her death as the result of a head on collision between Chevrolet auto and tractor trailer driven by Glenn Mills, and that Glenn Mills not be held for Grand Jury Investigation. And so the said jurors aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Crystal Lane Black came to her death in the manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, LEROY WILSON, Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

                                                                                          /s/ D. Leroy Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

                                                                                          /s/ B. W. Epting, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Carroll B. Garner (L.S.)                    

/s/ Claude Amick (L.S.)                                                                  /s/ Harold Kinard (L.S.)

/s/ Donnie Amick (L.S.)                                                                  /s/ Steve-Shealy (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

GLENN MILLS, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Mills, I believe you were driving the truck that had an accident with a car driven by Crystal Lane Black May 10 around 6:30 p.m. on Highway 391 on this side of Black's Bridge on the Prosperity side, is that correct?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Your name is Glenn Mills?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    You were the driver of the truck?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Go ahead and tell this jury what happened.

A.    Well, about a quarter of a mile before I get to the bridge, there's a little hill there. About 6: 30 Wednesday
        evening, I was coming home from my last load and just as I went to top the hill, I could see this car. The time I seen it, it was, she was in her lane. Just about time I seen it, she started across the lane. Next thing I knowed she was in my lane. I hit my air horn and my brakes. She never did attempt to dart back or nothing. When I realized she wasn't going to dart back, it was too late. Next 11hing I knowed, we had hit.

Q.    She was in your lane meeting you?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    You didn't try to miss her, did you?

A.    No.

Q.    I believe you stated to me that the trailer would have jackknifed all over the road?

A.    If I had hit my brakes and started swirling the steering wheel, it could jacked and if she had darted back to her lane, then it could have caught her. I didn't want to take, if there had been a ditch there, it would have thrown me back up on the highway, and then if she had          darted, I could have, I thought after I hit the air horn, she would have darted back.

Q.    About how far in front of you was she when you first saw her?

A.    I figure around 75 or maybe 100 yards at the most.

Q.    What speed were you traveling?

A.    I donít know really. I guess around 55 miles an hour. My truck- -some say, Iíve heard they've seen me run 75 miles an hour down the road, but my truck is governed at 63.                                                                                            1

Q.    Was your truck loaded or empty?

A.    It was empty.

Q.    Do you own this truck?

A.    Yes sir, my Daddy does.

Q.    Mr. George Mills?                                                                                          I

A.    Yes sir

Q.    This girl didn't attempt to get back on her side of the road at any time?

A.    No sir, unless she turned when we hit. You could tell from my tracks where I started dropping, just about ready to drop off the shoulder, and she hit me dead center.

Q.    How was the weather? Was it raining or cloudy or fair?

A.    It was clear, a pretty day.

Q.    Mr. Mills, I believe you live in Saluda County, isn't that right?

A.    Yes, I live approximately a mile and a half from where it happened.

Q.    Your mailing address is Route 2, Prosperity, S. C., isn't it?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    George Mills Logging Company is the owner of the truck?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    After you and her collided, what happened? What did you do?

A.    Well, when the truck got stopped, I got out of the truck and went around to make sure who it was. Then I seen. Then about that time, two off-duty Patrol­men was there. There was nothing I could do.

Q.    Did you know Miss Black?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Were you injured in this co1lision?

A.    Not too seriously.

Q.    You didn't have to have medical attention?

A.    Just a checkup.                                                .

Q.    Whenever you got stopped, what position was your truck in?

A.    Headed straight into the ditch on the left side of the road.

Q.    This was a truck and a trailer, wasn't it?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    How long was the trailer?

A.    I guess around 36 feet.

Q.    You almost had the road blocked after you stopped, didn't you?

A.    Yes sir, cause when I went into the ditch on the other side, my trailer swung around clear into the other lane. The trailer stayed in my lane, and my truck, I reckon when we hit, it cut my wheels, and the tractor went straight into the ditch, and my trailer like stayed in my lane.

Q.    After you got stopped, you went to the car to see who was in it?

A.    Yes sir, to see if they was hurt, how bad.

Q.    Did you hear the driver, Miss Black, say anything or make any kind of groans?

A.    No sir. The only thing she done, she dropped her head.

Q.    You don't know anything else about it then do you, Mr. Mills?

A.    No sir, you know as much about it as I do now.

Q.    Any of the jurymen want to ask questions? (No questions) That's all, Mr. Mills thank you.    (Witness Excused)

WILLIE GOWAN, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Gowan, were you traveling the road to Black's Bridge where this wreck happen

A.    Yes sir

Q.    I believe you were the first one there, werenít you?

A.    I was the first one there on this side of the highway.

Q.    Tell these gentlemen here what you found when you got there.

A.    Well, when I got there and got out, this boy was coming out of the window of his truck. Somebody else had done
        beat me there, somebody right behind me evidently heard. Before I got to the car, he hollered, ďGet an ambulanceĒ, so I turned around and some fellow pulled up in a pickup behind me. He had a C. B., but he couldn't reach anybody he said. Then I went to the car. I went back up the road where my pickup was at and at that times other cars were getting there. There was a girl coming along in a little Datsun, and I sent her to call for a patrol­ man and an ambulance. That's about the size of my side.

Q.    Did this truck pass you going down the road?

A.    Naw, I pulled out behind it at Piggly Wiggly.

Q.    Then you were pretty close to it, in other words?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    You wouldn't say he was running at a reckless rate of speed, would you?

A.    Well­--

Q.    What speed was he running?

A.    I don't know what he was running. I don't know.

Q.    Were you there when the ambulance got this girl out of the car?

A.    Naw, I left. I directed traffic there until two patrolmen come later that was off duty, and then Mr. Koon got there before I left. I stayed, I guess, 30 or 40 minutes. The ambulance had just got there when I left. They had not got her out.

Q.    Any jurymen like to ask the witness any questions? (No questions) That will be all, thank you sir.

        (Witness Excused)

D. W. WILLIAMS, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Williams, state your occupation and what County.

A.    I'm a Corporal with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and I live and reside and work here in Newberry County.

Q.    Did this wreck we've been talking about happen in Newberry County?

A.    Yes

Q.    Did you investigate this wreck?

A.    Yes.

Q.    Tell what your investigation proved out.

A.    Well, the accident occurred on the 10th day of this month of this year at approximately 6:00 p.m. right in that

        neighborhood. I received the call at 6:38 p.m. reference the wreck on S. C. 391 near Black's Bridge. It happened to be at that time that most of the fellows were in for supper. Myself and another officer were working Interstate. I was on the other side of Newberry between Kinards and Newberry when I received the call so I proceeded in that direction. I

arrived there ten after seven, just a few minutes after 7:00. When I arrived, Patrolman First Class Bailey and Patrolman First Class Summer, they were on the scene. They had just came up, they had been fishing down there, and they had came up, had came up and stopped. I spoke to them a few minutes and tried to see what I had. I'll go up here to the board and draw a diagram of what I saw, the positions of the vehicles, and what I could find out about the acci­dent. I am not too much of an artist. The roadway, it was straight road where the accident happened. It was on a slight incline traveling north, which would be on a slight upgrade with the slight hillcrest where a vehicle going in this direction is just enough that would block the view of any vehicles therefore a certain distance either way. Going up the upgrade, there is a solid yellow line in the left hand lane. That is just about the point where you can see over the hillcrest cause when you get over the hillcrest, there's another long stretch of road. When I arrived there on the scene, a tractor truck, a pole trailer was empty into the ditch embankment here on the left side of the road, the trailer coming back, swinging back blocking just half or three quarters of this lane here. The other vehicle being in a position similar to this, this was a '72 Chevrolet, and this was the tractor trailer. When I arrived, I pulled my patrol vehicle and stopped somewhere in this neighborhood in this general vicinity.

I got out and spoke to the off-duty officers, and they told me. The ambulance was already on the scene when I arrived. The ambulance was parked in front here of the '72 Chevrolet. They told me they had the young lady that was in the '72 Chevrolet that was deceased. So I came around and looked in the ve­hicle and spoke to the ambulance driver, and they told me the Coroner was on the way. I asked for the driver of the other vehicle, the truck, was he there? They told me he had left. They said he would come back in a short period of time. They said he was sort of upset, and they had took him away and would bring him back to the scene. In just a short period of time afterwards, he did come back, and he came up to me and identified himself as being the driver of the truck, Glenn Mills. You've just heard his testimony here in court. I commenced to make some measurements here of what took place. It naturally appeared that damage to both vehicles that they had had a head on collision.

Back up the roadway, there was, all of this here was just a bunch of skid marks and scuffed the road up and knocked out chunks and debris scattered all over the roadway here. Back up, farther on back up, skid marks were in the roadway sort of went off at a slight angle toward the right shoulder of the road. I measured these two skid marks. The left one was 114 feet long, and the right one was 116 feet long. Then there was a slight skip here in the skid marks, and the pavement here was sort of chewed up or torn up just like there had been a great impact here. This center of this here was 6 feet from the center of the roadway here to the center of this tore up place in the road. The road here is 22 feet wide, S. C. 391, 22 feet wide. This would be north to Prosperity.

It appeared from the skid marks that were here the gap here that the only brakes that locked was actually did skidding on the truck itself was the rear wheels on the tractor itself. The brakes on the trailer never did actually skid on the pavement nor neither the front wheels on the tractor itself.

The rear wheels on the tractor itself made the marks where this impact took place. There were actually no, you might say, tire marks or skid marks or nothing like this after this collision here, nothing other than pavement torn up, chunked up out of the road and all the way over to both ve­hicles across here. I took another measurement here to the center of these marks to the front of the tractor, which was 73 feet. After what I presumed to be the point of impact here, this vehicle traveled 73 feet before it stopped at the ditch bank. There is a ditch running in here, an 8-foot shoulder before dropping off into the ditch and struck into the ditch bank. I took another measurement down through the debris onto where the front of the '72 Chevrolet stopped here which was 88 feet which I figured it was knocked backwards or flipped backwards at the point of impact, 88 feet until it stopped. I spoke with Mr. Mills on the scene down there and asked him what took place, and his story was similar to what he just told you in court today that he was traveling south headed home, that he had just took in his last load, and he was headed to the house. When he came up over the little rise where he could see, when he first saw the vehicle, the '72 Chevrolet, it appeared to be in the proper lane. Just as he saw it in the proper lane, the vehicle started to veer across to the left. He told me that he blew his air horn thinking possibly that the vehicle was going to go back. When he did get near enough to see that it was not going back, he applied the brakes and struck the vehicle head on in his lane of travel. He was in the south bound lane of 391. As far as the measurements and all, this is just about all there is to it. The damage to the truck was extensive damage, damage to the front and under the carriage of the truck. The '72 Chevrolet was very extensively damaged. It appeared that both vehicles had collided head on by looking at the vehicles. Any questions, Coroner?

Q.    How far did you say the truck carried the car before both stopped? After the impact, how far did the car go backwards?          .

A.    The Chevrolet traveled 88 feet after impact. The truck traveled 73 feet after impact before colliding into the ditch bank. The trailer was swinging back in this direction blocking just about three fourths of the lanes.

Q.    Any questions from the jury that want to ask the Patrolman? Anybody got any questions? (No questions)

        (Witness Excused)

This is the Death Certificate on Miss Crystal Lane Black signed by William R. Sillery.

Death was due to multiple injuries caused by auto accident.

Would you like to see it? (Directed to jury)

Miss Black was brought to Newberry County Memorial Hospital for a Doctor's examination, and that Doctor was the one on duty.

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen, you received your charge at the beginning of this in­quest. You have heard the testimony concerning this matter. Insert in your ver­dict the name of the party killed, the instrument with which killed and by whose hands she met death. If you find from this testimony that some party or parties other than the deceased was responsible for her death, you will recommend in your verdict that such party or parties be held for Grand Jury investigation.

(Whereupon, the jury retired, and after deliberation, returned to the court­room and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors:)

"Crystal Lane Black came to her death as result of head on collision between Chevrolet auto and tractor trailer driven by Glenn Mills. We hereby recommend that the driver, Glenn Mills, not be held for Grand Jury Investigation.Ē

 (At approximately 8:15 p.m., the inquest was concluded.)

 

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