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 Whitmire in the County and State aforesaid, the 7th day of August A. D., one thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine before GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner, upon view of the body of MRS. RUTH CORDER, then and there being dead by the oaths of Daniel C. Metts, Otis W. Puckett, Frank King, Fred Wilbanks, Jessie V. Osborne and Ray Lominick, 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 Mrs. Ruth Corder came to her death, upon their oaths, do say, Mrs. Ruth Corder came to her death as a result of being struck by a truck driven by James Langford. We recommend that James Langford be held for Grand Jury investigation. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Mrs. Ruth Corder came to her death in the manner aforesaid and recommend that James Langford be held for Grand Jury in­vestigation.

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

                                                                                /s/ George R. Summer, Coroner (L.S.)

                                                                                /s/ Daniel C. Metts, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Otis W. Puckett (L.S.)

/s/ Frank King (L.S.)                                                            /s/ Jessie V. Osborne (L.S.)

/s/ Fred Wilbanks (L.S.)                                                       /s/ Ray Lominick (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

CORONER SUMMER: I now declare the inquisition in order.
(Whereupon, the Foreman of the Jury, and Members of the Jury, were duly sworn.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is an in­quisition into the death of Mrs. Corder. It is your duty now to listen to the testimony that we have to offer in this case, and from this testimony you will arrive at how Mrs. Corder came to her death. If you find that some one else other than the deceased is responsible for her death, you will recommend in this verdict, that they be held for Grand Jury action.

Mr. William Corder, would you like to make a statement tonight? If you would, come around and be sworn in, please.

WILLIAM CORDER, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your name, sir?

A.    William Ernest Lee Corder.

Q.    Mr. Corder, on August 1st this year, just go ahead and tell these Gentlemen of the Jury just what happened that night?

A.    We were coming down the road from my mother's, it was about 15 to nine, I guess it was, and he just run off the road and hit her. I don't know how it happened or nothing. He just hit her and knocked her in the ditch and he just kept going on up the road.

Q.    Who all was with you that night, Mr. Corder?

A.    My three little young ones right there, two little girls and a little boy.

Q.    And also your wife was with you?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    How were you walking down this road?

A.    She was walking right behind me. And the children were in front of me, I was betwixt them.

Q.    Were you on the pavement or off on the shoulder?

A.    No sir, was not on the pavement.

Q.    You were on the side of the road?

A.    Thatís right, yes sir.

Q.    Were you walking facing traffic?

A.    Yes sir, he was coming up the road and we were going down the road like we were supposed to be.

Q.    You say this was about fifteen Ďtil 9:00?

A.    We left her house and it took about that long to get down to where we was at.

Q.    You were walking just like one behind the other?

A.    Yes sir, thatís the way we walked all the time, unless the place was wide enough, Iíve always got my arm around her neck.

Q.    Well, after this truck hit your wife, what happened then?

A.    This Mrs. Graham come out there and I hollered for help and she come running over there and my little boy went after her brother there, Charlie Wallen, I sent him after him.

Q.    Did this truck stop at this time sir?

A.    No, sir, it went on up the road and I don't know exactly how long it was before he came back down but he had his lights on when he come back down. He didn't have them on when he went up.

Q.    Was there any other automobile coming the opposite way that the truck was going?

A.    No, sir, I did not see one.

Q.    You didn't see any automobile?

A.    No, sir. I tell you the truth, I did not. I ain't going to tell a lie for my side or his side neither one.

Q.    Was it light enough to see at that time without lights on a vehicle?

A.    Yes, sir, sure was.

Q.    When you saw the truck coming, was it coming up the road straight, or how?

A.    He was coming toward the side.                             I don't know what happened to it, he was coming toward the side of the road where we were walking.

Q.    How close was your wife behind you?

A.    She wasn't that (indicating) far behind me and kind of on the side, like we walk all the time.

Q.    The truck didn't hit you at all?

A.    No, sir.

Q.    And the three little children were in front of you?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Is there anything else you can tell us about this?

A.    No, sir. Later he came back down the road and he got out, and he said he didn't know he hit her. I said she's laying over in the gully where you hit her at, where you knocked her.

Q.    Did you say anything else to him at that time?

A.    No, sir, he just got in his truck and come to the jailhouse, I guess.

Q.    Is there anything else?

A.    No, sir.

CORONER SUMMER:       That will be all, thank you, sir.                                  (Witness Excused)

MRS. LILLIE MAE GRAHAM, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your full name, ma'am?

A.    Lillie Mae Graham. I was a King before I married.

Q.    Mrs. Graham, the night of the accident, August 1st, where were you at this time?

A.    I was sitting in my living room talking to a friend, a girl friend.

Q.    Were you looking out the window of your house?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What did you see as you looked out of the window of your house that night?

A.    The first thing I saw was three children walking on the grass and I wondered why they were coming down the
        road, by the side of the road, at that time. I started to say something to my friend about it, then I seen Mr. Corder
behind them, and my mind was relieved that they had someone with them, and then I seen them cross across in front of my picture window, and I turned back to talk to my friend and we heard this terrific noise.         I looked out and saw the children and the father running back up past my driveway on up further, to where she was, but we ran out there. By the time he reached the body, I had reached the end of my driveway. I looked up and down the road and I didn't see any car or any truck. I ran on across to Mr. Corder and asked him was there anything that I could do. He first said, "Call my brother", which I didn't know who his brother was. I said "What about an ambulance and a doctor'?" He said, "Please do." I said, "Would Peay's ambulance be all right?" and he said, ďYes.Ē I ran back in the house and I called Peayís ambulance and after I got him, I called the Medical Center because I thought that was the quickest way to get to a doctor. The nurse on duty said Dr. Luke was out of town and if she was hurt real bad, take her on to Union. She said she would try to get the doctor, so I ran back out there to tell Mr. Corder what I had found out. It wasnít but a few minutes until the ambulance drove up. He went up the road and turned around in Mr. Kingís driveway and came back down to park.

Q.    But at this time when you saw Mr. Corder and the children, you did not see his wife? Whenever they were walking down the road?

A.    That was hazy in my mind, and I donít want to say that I did. I thought I did. I thought she had come in my view, but because of all the excitement and all there was one right behind the other and by seeing the man with the children, that distracted my attention, you know, I just didnít notice too much more about it, and I began talking to my friend.

Q.    After you came back out after making the telephone calls, did you go back to the house to make any other calls?

A.    Yes sir, Mr. Corder said to Marion Peay, ďI believe my wife is dead,Ē and he said, ďWell, I canít move her if sheís dead until someone else pronounces her dead.Ē I said, ďWell, I had better run in there and call the policeĒ, and he said, ďYes, go.Ē I did, I called and Keith Pruitt answered and I told him what had happened. He asked who it was. I said in front of my house and I told him who I was and he said that he would get in touch with the coroner and send over there help right away. Then I went back out again where Mr. Corder was. When I returned out there then, my neighbor, Annie Sizemore, had reached the scene.

Q.    You said when you got out there Mr. Corder and his children were running back up to-­

A.    No, I saw them through the picture window. They were further enough down the road so they were running back. It was a long ways back to where her body was.

Q.    You saw them at your picture window, you said.

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    And you don't know for sure whether you saw Mrs. Corder or not, you heard the commotion, then you went out?

A.    I looked up first. When I looked up, I saw the children screaming, and the commotion and I saw him really running.

Q.    Were they running back this way then, towards the body?

A.    Yes.          .

Q.    You don't know whether, after the truck hit the lady, they run down the road or not?

A.    No, they didn't, I don't think so, because immediately, see, they were in my full view. I think if I had continued looking out the window, I might have seen something that I didn't want to see.

Q.    What I'm trying to get at is this: He said she was right behind him and if they had to run back up there, she couldn't have been right behind him, is that right?

A.    Oh, no, sir, I think her body was hit a long ways.

Q.    You mean it was knocked to where-­

A.    Knocked a long ways.

Q.    Did you see this truck after you came out of the house the first time? '

A.    No, sir, I looked up and down the road and I didn't see a truck. I'd like to add something else about the time. He
        said 15 'til 9:00, he guessed it. The next day, after you all questioned me that night, it came to me what we were doing. I had just turned on the TV for Roger, my friend's little boy and it was when the Wild Wild West was on. It was before 8:30 and I looked at the TV guide and saw that Gomer Pyle was on, so Gomer Pyle had just come on, and the commercial had not come on. It was between 8:30 and 20 'til 9:00 because later on I asked Mr. Peay what time it was when I called him. He said it was 20 minutes til 9:00 when I called him.

Q.    When you saw these folks walking down the highway, you didn't see an automobile going in any other direction?

A.    Either way, no, sir.

Q.    You never did see the truck at any time?

A.    No, sir, not until it came back.

Q.    Do you know approximately how long it was before the truck came back? After you went out there the first time?

A.    I would have guessed between 20 and 25 minutes. I didn't want to stretch it. It could have been longer. It had gotten completely dark, and all that time it was light and we had stood out there until Mr. Peay came.

Q.    But don't you know exactly what time it was?

A.    A number of people had gotten there by that time.

Q.    And I want to get this straight. You said they were walking on the grassy part of the road?

A.    Yes, sir.     "

Q.    That's not on the pavement, off the pavement?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Isnít there anything else you might could add to this, Mrs. Graham?

A.    Oh, yes, unless you want to ask me, someone asked me if there were any words between Mr. Corder and the man, and I didn't hear anything except, I mean the man, Mr. Corder never did move from his post he was standing up against. I was right down below him and I heard him say, ďOh, yes, you did know what you done, you couldnít help but know it, that you hit her and you killed my wife. Sheís over there in the ditch.Ē

Q.    He said this after the truck came back to the scene?

A.    Oh yes sir.

Q.    Did the driver of this truck get out of his truck?

A.    It was dark and I did not see him get out. If he got out, I didnít see him get out. I saw the truck and I saw one of the lights was out but it was up a little bit further from me.

Q.    Which side of the truck was the light out on?

A.    On the right side.

Q.    That would be on the left side if you were facing it?

A.    Going up, right side.

Q.    It was on the passenger side of the truck, is that right?

A.    Thatís right. Oh yes, and another thing too. I said, ďMr. Corder, do you know who hit your wife?Ē when I first got there. He said, ďYes, James Langford,Ē and he said, ďHe wasnít driving straight, he was weaving in and out.Ē He didnít know what was wrong, donít know whether he was trying to dodge the children or what.

Q.    Is there anything else you can add?

A.    That's all I can remember.

CORONER SUMMER: That will be all, thank you.                 (Witness Excused.)

MRS. ANNIE SIZEMORE, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your full name?

A.    Annie Elizabeth Franklin Sizemore.

Q.    On the night of August 1st of this year, just tell these Gentle­men of the Jury just what you know about this accident.

A.    Well, I had been sitting out in the back yard getting some corn ready for the freezer, and I took my basket of shucks and threw them across the fence. When I threw them across the fence, I heard this noise. I walked around in the front yard, and I heard these children screaming, "Mama." Usually, two or three days out of the week, some little boys ride bicycles by home. When I heard those children screaming, I thought at first one of them had gotten hurt, and I didn't want to go by myself, so I turned around to my son's wife and told her, I said, "Come go with me" and we went right up there. When we got there, there was no one there but the two little girls and Mr. Corder, was all.

Q.    You didn't see the truck or anything?

A.    No, sir, I sure did not.

Q.    You didn't see them walking in the road?

A.    No, sir, I did not.

Q.    Do you know approximately what time it was when you heard this?

A.    It was not dark. Like I said, I was fixing corn and I had just finished and I was fixing to go in the house. It must have been around 25 or 20 minutes to 9:00, somewhere along there.

Q.    Were you at Mrs. Corder's side whenever this truck came back?

A.    Well, yes, sir, I was there when the truck came back.

Q.    Well, could you tell us approximately, you said you got there and no one was there but these two children and Mr. Corder, how long it was before the truck came back?

A.    Well, it was at least 20 minutes, I would say, at least 20 minutes.

Q.    Did this driver get out of this truck?

A.    Not as I know of, he did not.

Q.    Did he say anything?                                                                         

A.    He said something, but what he said I wouldn't know, because I'm not sure. I know Mr. Corder was talking to him about what he had done, he had killed his wife. What Mr. Langford said, I don't know.

Q.    Then did the truck drive off after that? Did it stay there very long?

A.    I went on home. I stayed with the children and someone came and got them. When they got the children, I turned and went on back into my house.

Q.    Did you hear Mr. Corder threaten Mr. Langford at any time?

A.    No, I sure did not. The only thing I heard him say, when Mr. Langford drove back, he said, "You killed my wife." Thatís all I heard.

Q.    He didn't go to the truck?

A.    He was standing against the sign when he said that, where he was standing when Mr. Langford got there.

CORONER SUMMER: Thank you, ma'am.                 (Witness Excused.)

LITT KING, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    How do you spell your name, Mr. King?

A.    L-i-t-t, Litt King.

Q.    All right, Mr. King, in your own words, just tell these Gentlemen of the Jury what you know about this accident of August 1st.

A.    I was sitting in a rocking chair, I reckon about 100 yards away. I heard a terrible noise, probably to tell the truth, I thought it had killed one of my cows, it was such a heavy blast, and about that time, this truck come on, full load, it never slowed up or nothing and went on out of sight the same way, at least a mile or mile and a half. I could hear the tires singing on the road, and he was moving on. Thatís all I know about it.

Q.    You didnít see it hit the person at all?

A.    No, it was before he got in front of my house. She was hit just between Mrs. graham and my house.

Q.    Did you see these folks walking down the road?

A.    Yes sir, man and woman both, walked right in front of my door, within fifty feet of my door.

Q.    How were they walking at that time?

A.     Walking right along, the man the man had the little girl and this woman and they was all coming down the road together, right on the highway.

Q.    Were they side by side, or were they walking in a straight line?

A.    When they were there, they were walking on a straight line and seemed like this lady was a little bit behind the others.

Q.    You said the man had the little girl-­

A.    Had the little girl by the hand.

Q.    Was she walking beside him?

A.    They was going up the road.

Q.    I know, but was she walking beside of him?

A.    No, she was behind him.

Q.    And he had her by the hand behind him?

A.    No, he didn't have her, he had this little girl.

Q.    That's what I'm talking about. He had the little girl by the hand?

A.    Yes, sir, and he was walking on the grass and his little girl was walking right along side of him and they was
        walking on the grass, and he hit this thing in full force, about sixty-five miles an hour, is what I figure, that's about what he was running. That mile post is right there where they pick up to about 55, and when he passed my house, he was moving on up the road and he kept going. He didn't make any stop at all. Just a dead lick, and like I said, I thought he'd killed one of my cows. I stepped up and walked in the kitchen and called my son, Jimmy King, and told him and his wife that somebody had got killed out on the road and I heard a little girl crying. I called him and him and his wife come down there.

Q.    But where you were sitting, you couldn't see anything that happened?

A.    No.

Q.    What you are saying is what you think happened, is that right?

A.    Yes sir, I didnít know what happened. I told them that somebody had got killed or something or another, because a little girl was crying.

Q.    But you actually didnít eye witness seeing anything? You didnít see it with your eyes?

A.    No sir, I didnít see it, only when they passed my door.

Q.    You just heard it?

A.    I just heard the lick.

Q.    This truck that was going by, did you know that was the truck that hit it?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Well, if you couldn't see it, how would you know that was the truck?

A.    Well, I seen it when he come back. Was I blind when he come back? I seen him when he went up the road,

Q.    Well, I know, but there's more cars that go that road than one.

A.    I know, but there wasn't .no cars at that time, wasn't any car in sight at all.

Q.    No other cars?

A.    No, sir. It was daylight.

Q.    It was daylight?

A.    I mean it was open daylight. It wasn't dark, just like they said, about 20 minutes 'til 9:00.

Q.    Light like it is out there now?

A.    Yes, sir.

CORONER SUMMER:  That will be all.             (Witness Excused.)

KEITH L. PRUITT, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

THE WITNESS: Approximately five minutes until 9:00 on the first of August I got a call from Mrs. Graham. She said there had been a hit and run over there and a lady was killed. I asked her did she know what kind of vehicle it was and she said she didn't. I told her I would try to get in touch with a doctor and call the coroner and sheriff, so I did. First I called for the Coroner and then I called on the radio and asked if they would put it out there was a hit and run where there had been a fatality on HYW 66, headed toward Joanna and I didnít hear anything else. Shortly after a quarter after nine, this phone call was about five minutes until nine, Mr. Langford came in. he walked in the door and he said, ďI want to give myself up, Iím the one youíre looking for, I hit that woman over thereĒ, and thatís all I know about it. I didnít question Mr. Langford because officially I hadnít been told the woman was dead. I didnít say anything and when I notified the sheriff that the man had come in, I notified him by radio and he asked me would I keep him there until he got there and I did. I didnít ask him any questions at all.

Bt Coroner Summer:

Q.    You didnít know what kind of vehicle it was at the time?

A.    She didnít know. I didnít know until he came in and parked the truck out front there and he told me he was the one.

Q.    When Mr. Langford came in, what condition was he in, Mr. Pruitt?

A.    Well, he was shook up and he was real flushed in the face. He was a little unsteady. I don't know for what reason, but he was a little unsteady. He asked about going and getting a cup of coffee and I told him I had some there, I would give him a cup of coffee, which I did.

Q.    This happened in Newberry County. Did it not?

A.    That's right.

CORONER SUMMER: That's all thank you, sir.          (Witness Excused.)

SGT. WALTER E. HAMILTON, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your full name?

A.    Walter E.                  Hamilton.

Q.    What position do you hold, Mr. Hamilton?

A.    Sergeant in charge of Newberry County Highway Patrol.

Q.    On the night of August 1st this year, did you get a call to investigate a fatality or an accident?

A.      Yes, sir. We received a call on August 1st, that was on Friday night, that there had been a hit and run accident
         near Whitmire on Highway 66 and they thought there was a fatality involved in it, and that was around nine

o'clock, I believe it was, when we got the call. I was in Prosperity when I received the call, just out of Prosperity on Highway 76, and I immediately called Patrolman Nichols, who was working 1-26, and asked him to go to the Highway 66 interchange and stand by and stop all cars that came that route, and I myself--Patrolman Smith, called him and told him to go to the scene, which he did. He went Highway 121 into Whitmire and I came up and hit    1-26 and went up the highway to 32, Jalapa interchange. We arrived at the scene and found that there was a big crowd of peo­ple there. They were parked all along the side of the road and we found a white lady had been hit and she was laying in a little ditch beside the road and there was a white sheet over her and some people--I don't think she had been examined, and I raised the sheet up off of her and tried to find a pulse, which I didn't find. To my judgment, she was dead.

She had a big hole in her head there. It was visible. Of course I saw her at the funeral home and she had a big cut across he stomach, her left leg was cut severely, very severely, almost off; her right leg was broken several different places and her right leg had two big cuts, one below her kneecap and one above her kneecap, which I would say were around five to six-inch cuts and it was very severe. We looked there at the scene of the accident to try to determine where these people were walking, but we couldn't see any tracks whatsoever on account of there was so many cars parked along there. I walked down the road, I guess, about a hundred feet and couldn't see any tracks where the car had run over here. There were tracks along there but cars had stopped and continued on. There were still some sitting there when I arrived. At the scene, on the right shoulder of the road, we found this lens out of a parking light, which belonged to the 1966 pick-up truck and found some pieces of a headlight that I picked up. These were just on the edge of the road and in the grass.

After we stayed there at the scene and the lady was taken away in the hearse, we came to the police department and found that Mr. James Carl Langford, 2306 Osborne Street, Newberry, had his truck parked outside with some damage on the right front. I would be glad to let the Jury examine these pictures of the truck if they would like to see them.

The damage was on the right front hood and the right head light was knocked out and there was some damage on the right side of the pick-up truck. When I came into the police department, Mr. Langford, he was in a very emotional state, condition, and he was crying and started to saying, before I had anything to say to him, that he didn't mean to hit the woman, that, he stated that a car blinded him with his headlights and he didn't see her, and Mr. Langford, I could tell that there was something unusual about his condition and we asked him if he would submit to a blood test. He said he would. He said he hadn't had anything to drink and we took Mr. Langford to the Newberry County Hospital and he submitted to a blood test and he was given the test by a nurse, Mrs. Bickley, at the Newberry County Hospital at 11 P.M. That was approximately two and a half hours after this accident happened. I received a notice from Dr. Mullins, Laboratory in Augusta, Georgia, where the blood was sent for alcohol test and he had fifteen-hundredths percent of alcohol in his blood, which is under the influence. He was carried to the county jail and we met with his wife and Mr. Summer, who he works for and we didn't put him in jail because he was in a very emotional condition and we turned him over to his people and they carried him home.

Q.    Before he was cross examined by the Coroner or anyone else, was he read his rights?

A.    Yes, sir. The statement he made, he made it voluntarily with­out anyone asking or anyone having a chance to tell him of his rights, then when you came in, you advised him of his rights and that he didn't have to make a statement unless he wanted to or he could have an attorney or you would get him an attorney, whichever one he wanted and he said that he didnít want to make a statement, he had an attorney present.

Q.    In your investigation, sir, did you determine what time lapse it was between the accident and the time he came back to the scene?

A.    What we have a pinpoint from the witnesses was about 8:40 when the accident happened and he reported to the

        police department here in Whitmire at 9:15, I believe Chief Pruitt said. From where the accident happened there, this afternoon I went over to the scene. There is a 30-mile sign there on a curve. It's recommended, it's not the speed limit, it's a suggested speed for that particular area there. As you come out of this curve, the accident happened on a straight stretch of highway and we measured; came back from the scene and I asked Patrolman Smith if he would time us. It takes three minutes to drive from the scene of the accident to the police department, and we didn't run over forty miles an hour.

Q.    At any time in your investigation, sir, could you tell whether this pick-mp truck had left the pavement at any

        time?

A.    No, sir, there was cars parked alongside the road. There were tire marks on the side of the road but I couldn't determine who made them. I don't know whether the pick-up truck made them or who made them because there were cars parked all alongside the road, but this glass and all, there was no debris, or anything, only glass and this lens from the parking light,      it was on the grass on the right hand side of the road.

Q.    How wide is the road at that place?                                             .

A.    Eighteen feet.

Q.    How wide is the shoulder from the pavement to the ditch?

A.    I don't know. Patrolman Smith has those measurements.

Q.    Is there anything else, then, that you could tell us about this?

A.    No, sir, that's about the extent of it.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, thank you, sir.                      (Witness Excused.)

­D. F. SMITH, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your full name, sir?                                                                     .

A.    D. F. Smith.

Q.    What position do you hold, Mr. Smith?

A.    Highway Patrolman.

Q.    On the night of August 1st, go ahead and tell these Gentlemen of the Jury just what your investigation was in your own words, sir.

A.    I was on the By-pass down at Newberry on the night of the 1st and I got a call from Greenwood telling me there
        had been an accident on 66, a hit and run and somebody had been hit. At that time they didn't know if they were
dead or alive, and it was just a hit and run. I was supposed to get gas at that time and I called Sergeant Hamilton and asked did he hear what the operator said. He said he had it on the wrong channel so I went ahead and told him what was happening. He told me to come on up, he'd come on up later, so I come on up. I was told to go to the scene. When I got to the scene, I seen a lady or something laying in the ditch covered up with a sheet. I didn't know at the time if it was a lady or a man. It was covered up in a sheet. I went to looking up and down the road, measuring the road and getting my measurements. Very shortly, Sergeant Hamilton come on up. I told him that one of the policemen told me that the subject was at the City Hall, needn't look no longer. I believe he made a remark, I wouldn't swear to it, but someone called Nichols and told him there wouldn't be any use for him to look out for that truck or vehicle any longer, it was at the City Hall. We went on with our investigation at that time, me and him measuring and everything and I never had seen the truck until I came to the City Hall, at any time at the scene. When I first got there, when I left, at any time. I saw the truck when I came to the City Hall. Some person was asked how wide was the road. I measured the road and it was 18 feet wide, paved road, and it was eight-foot shoulder from the center of the ditch where the subject was laying up to the edge of the road, 18 feet, down in the ditch, 18feet. From where I first seen the glass laying in the road and in the grass and in the road, travel part, was 34 feet from where I seen the glass to where the body was laying, in the ditch, so I went on up to where she was laying, and asked did anybody know anything about it. Mr. Corder was leaning up on a sign there and he tried his best to tell me the best he could all about it but he was very upset about it. He said, they was coming down the road and the truck hit his wife and didn't stop and kept going.

Q.    Mr. Smith, from the shoulder, did I understand you to say it was 18 feet from the ditch to the pavement?

A.    That is from the bottom of the ditch where she was up to the edge of the road.

Q.    Eighteen feet?

A.    Eight feet.

Q.    I thought you said 18 feet.

A.    Eight-feet shoulder and it was an 18-foot road and it was 34 feet from where I saw the glass. I didn't say impact, now, where I discovered the glass laying to where the subject was laying in the ditch was 34 feet.

Q.    Did you see any kind of skid marks or anything?

A.    I did not see any at all. So many cars, as Sergeant Hamilton stated, was there and you couldn't see anything. They had pulled up all along beside the road, off the road, in the road, you couldn't tell. We saw them, but we didn't know who made them.

Q.    You couldn't say, the, whether the pick-up truck ran off the road?

A.    I am unable to say.                                                          .

Q.    There is no way you could estimate the speed?

A.    Not at all.

Q.    Could you tell what kind of dress this lady had on, Mr. Smith?

A.    When I got there, the subject was covered up in a sheet, so I backed off and went on with my routine investigation and when Sergeant Hamilton got there he pulled the sheet up off the head part and looked at the subject, but I could not tell you what color dress it had on. He just raised up the sheet off, I presume it was her face, and reached his hands to feel her pulse and he pronounced that she didn't have any.

Q.    When you saw this truck, do you know what kind of truck this was?

A.    It was a 1966 Chevrolet truck.

Q.    Was this a pick-up truck?

A.    It is. 1966. The truck belonged to Home Furniture Company in Newberry. I know Mr. Langford, been knowing him quite a while. I didn't talk with Mr. Langford at the City Hall down here, but he wasn't the same    Mr. Langford I have known for twenty years.

CORONER SUMMER: Is there anything else you can tell us about it?

A.    I can't tell you anything else.

CORONER SUMMER: That's all, thank you, sir.                             (Witness Excused.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Langford, before I ask you anything, I have to give you this alternative. At an inquisition you do not have to make a statement. Whatever you say can be used for you or against you. If you would like to

make a statement, I will be glad to swear you in, and if you don't, you don't have to, I will leave that up to you, sir.

MR. STONE: On my advise, he will not make a statement at this time.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, thank you, sir.

At this time, I would like to make this statement. Anyone that has lived in this vicinity where this accident happened that was an eye witness, not hearing a wreck or anything like this, but was an eye witness that saw the accident, I would love for them to come up now to be sworn in. We have tried to find eyewitnesses and were unable to find anyone other than the deceasedís family. That's why I'm making this appeal for any­ body to come forward.    

This is the doctor's statement, Dr. Kemper D. Lake, M.D.

"To Whom It May Concern: Mrs. Ruth Wallen Corder died from massive injuries to head, abdomen, and pelvis. Death was instantaneous, occur­ring on August 1, 1969."                                                   /s/ Kemper D. Lake, M. D.

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is all the evidence we have in this case. It is now your duty to retire to the jury room to pass your verdict on how Mrs. Ruth Corder came to her death. You had your charge at the beginning of this inquisition.  It is now your duty to render your ver­dict.  (Whereupon, the jury retired, and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors:)

"Mrs. Ruth Corder came to her death as a result of being struck by a truck driven by James Langford. We recommend that James Langford be held for Grand Jury Investigation."

 (Whereupon, the inquest in the aforementioned matter was concluded at approximately 8:30 o'clock P.M.)

CERTIFICATE OF SHORTHAND REPORTER

I hereby certify that the foregoing 30 pages constitute a true and accurate transcription of my shorthand notes of the proceedings in the above­ styled matter, taken on August 7, 1969, at Whitmire, South Carolina and that it is the whole thereof. 
/s/ Doris A. Sanders.         August 8, 1969          Shorthand Reporter

 

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